Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific reported an annual loss of HK$6.55 billion (US$834.4 million) for the 12 months ended 31 December, wider than the previous year’s loss but near the bottom of its January forecast for a loss of between HK$6.4 billion and HK$7 billion.
“We were very encouraged to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel in the second half of 2022, and the positive momentum has continued into 2023,” Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lam said in a statement. “After three brutal years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have finally entered into a new exciting phase, in which we will rebuild Cathay Pacific for Hong Kong.”
Cathay said it was operating about one-third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by December and ended the year operating passenger flights to 58 destinations, double the 29 destinations the airline flew to in January 2022.
It would operate at about 70 percent of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, with an aim to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. It was operating about two-thirds of pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity levels by the end of 2022.
Cathay Chairman Patrick Healy said: “We are rebuilding a new Cathay Pacific that Hong Kong can be proud of. We have a crystal-clear strategy underpinned by our four lines of business – Premium Travel, Low-Cost Travel, Cargo and Lifestyle – that we are confident will deliver long-term success. To achieve this, we are focused on reconnecting. This means reconnecting Cathay Pacific with Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and the Chinese Mainland, as well as reconnecting our home city with the world.
Hong Kong has an important role to play in the overall development of the country. The National 14th Five-Year Plan reinforces the importance of strengthening the Hong Kong international aviation hub. We are excited by the increased capacity and the enhanced capabilities that the Three-Runway System at Hong Kong International Airport will provide, once it is completed at the end of next year,” Healy said.
“Moreover, as Hong Kong becomes increasingly integrated into the vibrant GBA economy, we will provide a wide range of intermodal cross-boundary transportation options to enable customers travelling to and from the GBA to seamlessly connect to their Cathay Pacific flights in Hong Kong,” Healy added. “By the end of March, as a Group, we will be operating approximately 50% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity and serving more than 70 destinations. This will increase to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, covering more than 80 destinations. And we aim to restore capacity fully to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. We will also return to 85 percent of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity by the end of this year.”