Cathay Pacific said on Tuesday easing quarantine arrangements for inbound travellers are expected to boost its business in the near future, but the airline also spoke about the difficulty of adding passenger capacity under current Covid rules for aircrew.
In a statement, Cathay said it carried almost 220,000 passengers in July, about four times that of the figure from a year ago.
The July figure was also up 46 percent from the month before.
But passengers numbers were still down 93.3 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
"The latest adjustments to quarantine arrangements for passengers arriving in Hong Kong are expected to have a positive impact on inbound traffic as well as leisure travel among Hong Kong residents. Student traffic to the US and UK is also expected to provide our travel business with a strong boost in August and September," said Ronald Lam, Cathay's chief customer and commercial officer, in a statement.
"However, our ability to add more passenger flight capacity will remain limited unless the restrictions on our aircrew are lifted."
Currently, locally-based flight crews are subject to medical surveillance and mandatory quarantine upon arrival, coupled with repeated Covid testing.
Meanwhile, Cathay said it carried about 100,710 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 17.2 percent year on year.
Lam said cargo demand remained flat in July in many of Cathay's key markets.
"We expect to operate a full freighter schedule in August and going forward, complemented by regional cargo-only passenger flights and more belly capacity provided by our additional passenger services. However, long-haul cargo-only passenger flights will be limited."
On the outlook for cargo operation, Lam said, "We are cautiously optimistic about a solid seasonal winter peak season, although this is anticipated to be less pronounced than the one we experienced in 2021 in light of the current global economic environment."