Students returning to Hong Kong gave Cathay Pacific December traffic boost

Cathay Pacific and sister carrier HK Express carried more than 20 million passengers last year as travellers re-emerged from Covid-era restrictions.

The 2023 performance compared with just three million passengers using both airlines in the previous 12 months. 

Cathay Pacific ended last year by carried a total of 1.8 million passengers in December, up 122% year-on-year.

The passenger load factor decreased by two percentage points to 81.2%, while capacity increased by 94% over the same month in 2022.

Chief customer and commercial officer Lavinia Lau said: “The demand for travel from the United Kingdom was particularly strong as it coincided with the peak period for international students returning to Hong Kong. 

“Furthermore, our seasonal Christchurch service, which resumed last month, was popular not only among Hong Kong customers, but also stimulated transit traffic to and from the Philippines and the United Kingdom.”

She added: “As a group, we made significant progress in our rebuild journey in 2023. 

“As we look ahead to 2024, we remain committed to working towards fully rebuilding our flights, with the aim of delivering the high-quality and reliable services that Hong Kong deserves. 

“Despite the ongoing challenges that are affecting the entire global aviation industry, we are prepared to face them, as always, with determination.

“The Lunar New Year is approaching and this will mark another peak travel period when people celebrate and visit loved ones. We anticipate strong demand from late January until the end of the Lunar New Year holiday. 

“Looking further ahead, we are also delighted to announce that our popular Barcelona service will resume in June, and we look forward to welcoming customers onboard.”

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