Cathay Pacific Airways of Hong Kong reports that losses in the first half of the year narrowed as quarantine rules were relaxed, increasing passenger numbers.
(HONG KONG) — Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Hong Kong, reported Wednesday that losses in the first half of the year narrowed as quarantine rules were relaxed, increasing passenger numbers.
It did, however, warn that quarantine requirements for its crew were limiting the airline’s ability to increase flight capacity.
In the first six months, the company reported losses of about $5 billion in Hong Kong dollars ($637 million), down from 7.57 billion Hong Kong dollars ($964.5 million) in the same period last year.
Hong Kong reduced strict quarantine rules in mandatory hotel quarantine from 14 to seven days earlier this year, and to three days as of Friday.
It is still one of the few places in the world, along with mainland China, that requires inbound travelers to undergo mandatory quarantine. Such measures have hampered Cathay’s and the city’s tourism industry’s recovery, as travelers prefer other destinations that have completely reopened.
Cathay Pacific’s first-half revenue increased 17% to 18.6 billion Hong Kong dollars, owing primarily to an increase in passengers as quarantine restrictions were relaxed.
The passenger load factor, which measures how many passengers use available capacity, was around 59%, up from nearly 19% in the same period last year.
By December, Cathay hopes to be operating at 65% of pre-COVID cargo capacity and 25% of pre-COVID passenger capacity.
“In the short term, it is clear that Hong Kong has fallen far behind other international aviation hubs, and that our regional competitors have recovered much faster from the disruptions caused by the global pandemic,” Cathay Pacific Chairman Patrick Healy said at a news conference on Wednesday.
He also claimed that the city’s crew quarantine requirements limited its flight capacity.
“These ongoing constraints also limit our ability to add capacity despite rising demand,” he explained. “Once all COVID-related restrictions on aircrew are lifted, we will be able to gradually increase both cargo and passenger capacity in the months ahead.”
Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong shares rose 1% following the release of its earnings.
The city’s airline lags behind competitors such as Singapore Airlines, which reported a net profit of 370 million Singapore dollars ($268.5 million) last month. Singapore has lifted COVID-19 entry restrictions and does not require tourists to be quarantined.
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