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Cathay Pacific Increases Flight Frequencies Amid Surging Demand

A Cathay Pacific 777 lifts off from Dusseldorf, Germany. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Hongkongers have started dusting off their passports and returning to the skies again following the lifting of travel restrictions in September. In response to that surging demand, Cathay Pacific has increased flight frequencies across a wide variety of routes.

Earlier, the Hong Kong government scrapped hotel quarantine policies and implemented a so-called “0+3” model. Travelers coming from overseas need to take three days for self-monitoring for Covid-19 symptoms. During the self-monitoring period, travelers will be banned from entering restaurants and some other locations with crowds.

Taiwan is also carrying out a similar policy with travelers from North America and European countries, but the visitors need to take seven days of self-monitoring, a so-called “0+7” model.

Business travelers are not forecasted to come back to Hong Kong immediately, but Hongkongers have begun planning their long-awaited vacations. In Japan, one of the most popular destinations among travelers from Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific has increased frequencies to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport to 86 weekly and Osaka to 106 weekly in October.

The carrier is going further in adding almost 140,000 seats in November and December for those traveling to Japan. Flights between Hong Kong and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport will be resuming in November and Hong Kong to Sapporo will resume in December. Japan reopened its border and started welcoming international travelers on Oct. 11.

Meanwhile, the airline will add 31,500 seats in the coming two months to London. It is expected first class service will be resumed on CX251 and CX252 on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6. British Airways has also announced that it will resume London to Hong Kong services on Dec. 5. However, Virgin Atlantic has shocked the city and revealed that it will pull out of Hong Kong services as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

Cathay Pacific also announced that passenger flights to Madrid; Milan; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Kathmandu, Nepal and Bengaluru, India will be resumed. In the wake of surging demand, the airline is planning to hire 4,000 more employees.

In addition, Cathay Pacific revealed the travel figure for September, carrying 265,845 passengers, a slight increase compared to last month.

“Looking ahead, we remain focused on adding as many passengers flight as we can, and have already added more than 400 flights sectors in October to and from regional and long-haul destinations since the September announcements by the Government.” Ronald Lam, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer said.

Attracting Foreign Travelers

Despite the fact that the border of Hong Kong hasn’t fully opened, the Hong Kong government is trying to lure foreign travelers back by giving away 500,000 air tickets. Earlier, the IATA criticized Hong Kong’s travel restrictions will cost the city as an international aviation hub.

However, Hong Kong Express, Cathay Pacific’s subsidiary low-cost carrier, is facing a challenge after lifting the travel restrictions. The no-frills airline has canceled some scheduled flights after Jan. 15, a week ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. According to local media, the airline has been facing staffing issues. The airline said it has reviewed its flight schedule in 2023 to provide passengers with a more transparent outlook.

“Customers are also eligible for full refunds if there are no other suitable options available,” Hong Kong Express’s spokeswoman said in a statement.

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