AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific's passenger traffic plunged 98%

Quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong reduced its capacity during the first quarter.

Cathay Pacific’s passenger traffic dropped 98.4% YOY in the first quarter amidst capacity reductions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the quarter, capacity also decreased 91.7%, whilst revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) fell 98.2%, compared to the same period last year.

In its March report, Cathay Pacific’s traffic dropped 94% year-on-year as quarantine measures cut its capacity by 47%. A total of 18,539 passengers were carried during the month, resulting in a 95.7% decline in the month’s RPK.

“With the tightened crew quarantine requirements in Hong Kong, we only managed to maintain a skeleton schedule in March, operating passenger services to just 18 destinations,” Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronal Lam said.

He noted the average daily passenger numbers were down to just 598, compared to 755 in February.

Its cargo segment, meanwhile, also suffered in March after carrying 83,329 tonnes during the month, reflecting a 30.1% decrease YOY.

For the quarter, tonnage fell 29.6% against a drop of 39.6% in capacity and 26.5% in revenue freight tonne kilometres. Likewise, this was due to reductions in its capacity.

“Our overall cargo capacity was constrained by the stringent crew quarantine requirements in Hong Kong, resulting in a 39.4% year-on-yearreduction in capacity. This was despite our efforts to operate more cargo-only passenger flights as well as chartered freighter flights from our subsidiary, Air Hong Kong,” Lam said.

He noted the carrier welcomed plans to lift the mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated Hong Kong-based aircrew on freighters and cargo-only passenger flights as well as the plan to use “vaccine bubbles.”

“This provides a framework under which fully vaccinated people could benefit from shorter or no quarantine requirements when travelling, such as via an Air Travel Bubble, which we are eagerly anticipating,” he said.

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