Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. flew just 18,539 passengers in March—a daily average of 598 and a slump of 94% from a year earlier—as it continued to operate a very limited schedule compared with before the pandemic.
Passenger load factor fell 28 percentage points to 21.2% and capacity measured in available seat kilometers tumbled by 90%, the Hong Kong-based carrier said in a statement Friday. It carried 83,329 tons of cargo, down 30% from the previous March, though load factor improved to a record 86.4%, with strong demand from Northeast Asia and the Americas.
“We only managed to maintain a skeleton schedule in March, operating passenger services to just 18 destinations,” Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said in the statement. Average daily passenger numbers were 755 in February, he said.
Cathay has been operating more frequently to London this month to cater to demand for student travel, Lam said, adding that the company welcomed Hong Kong’s decision to lift a ban on flights from the U.K. in May. A plan to ease mandatory quarantine measures for travelers from mainland China and lower-risk places is also “a positive step in the right direction,” he said.
Cathay rose 1.1% on Friday morning in Hong Kong. The shares are up 19% from a 2021 closing low of HK$5.95 hit on Jan. 28.