Cathay ramps up flights as quarantine axed


Hong Kong can look forward to better connectivity this winter.


Cathay Pacific has promised more flights and better connectivity for Hong Kong following the axing of hotel quarantine.


The airline has revealed it carried more than 260,000 passengers in September, an increase of 102% compared with the same period last year. However, it still represented a drop of nearly 90% on the same month in 2019.


According to Cathay’s chief commercial officer Ronald Lim, the airline’s September passenger numbers were boosted by student traffic from both Hong Kong and mainland China.


“Demand for student travel to the US tapered down from the second week of September, but this was balanced by growing demand among UK-bound student traffic,” he said. As a result, the airline increased its services between Hong Kong and the UK from 111 flights in August to 134 in September. Capacity was also added on flights to Japan and Southeast Asia.


Inbound traffic has also increased, largely driven by the scrapping of hotel quarantine.


“The removal of quarantine was a very welcome development that has helped boost sentiment for travel,” said Lim. “In the last week of September we saw a considerable increase in demand for flights to Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul.”


With quarantine gone, Cathay is now looking forward to a more buoyant future with 400 flight sectors added to October schedules. The airline has now resumed direct flights with Madrid, Milan, Dubai and Kathmandu, bringing its total number of destinations to 51 this month.


Japan has also reopened its borders and Cathay has subsequently increased frequencies to Tokyo's Narita and Osaka this month. Daily flights to Haneda will resume in November and four-times-weekly flights to Sapporo in December.


London Heathrow will also see a substantial increase in passenger flights in November and December," added Lim. "An additional 31,500 seats will be offered over the two months and on certain days in December we will be operating four flights a day.”


First class cabins on the Heathrow route will be available on flights CX251 and CX252 from December 5.


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