Cathay Pacific earnings positive, but warns on protests

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Anti-government protests cut traffic figures in August at Cathay and Cathay Dragon.
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Cathay Pacific earnings positive, but warns on protests

Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific announced it had moved back into profit but warned Wednesday (7 August) that violent protests in the financial hub had hit booking demand. After posting huge losses last year, the airline reported first-half earnings of HK$1.35 billion (US$172 million), compared with a loss of HK$263 million in the same period a year ago.

Announcing interim results, chairman John Slosar warned of further impact to the business in response to both the unrest and global trade tensions. “Geopolitical and trade tensions are expected to continue to affect the global economy and, in turn, demand for air travel and air freight,” he said. “The protests in Hong Kong reduced inbound passenger traffic in July and are adversely impacting forward bookings.”

Despite the uncertainty, Slosar said he still expects to achieve even better results in the second half of the year, as is usual in the aviation industry.

Hong Kong has been racked with protests for more than nine weeks, some of which have impacted the city’s airport. On Monday, more than 160 flights at the city’s airport were listed as cancelled as a general strike caused transport chaos in the city. Many were with Cathay Pacific, with its flight attendants union confirming some of its members had walked out.

During the results announcement, Slosar said the airline would continue to make “significant investments in strengthening Hong Kong’s standing as Asia’s largest international aviation hub”.

“Cathay Pacific has been Hong Kong’s home airline for over seven decades and we remain resolutely committed to this wonderful city,” he added.

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