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Cathay Pacific Adds Flights to Japan As Travel Restrictions Are Pulled Back

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

Cathay Pacific has confirmed that it will ramp up the flight frequencies to Japan. It comes after the announcement of Japan to scrap the travel restrictions. Japan has limited the number of flights from Hong Kong since the announcement of China to reopen its border.

“We welcome the decision made by the Japanese government to remove the maximum number of flights each carrier can operate from Hong Kong SAR to Japan,” Cathay Pacific said in a statement.

Hong Kong Express, Cathay Pacific’s low-cost carrier, will adjust its frequencies in response to the new policies. Earlier, Hong Kong Express has cancelled over 100 flights to Japanese destinations, such as Fukuoka, Okinawa, Osaka and Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda Airport for March.

Cathay Pacific said it will operate 83 and 94 flights in April and May respectively, compared to March, it provides 72 flights to Japan every week. However, it is expected the schedule couldn’t rebound to pre-covid levels due to the shortage of staff in Japan.

Cathay Pacific has more than its fair share, cancelling the flights to Japan during the Lunar New Year Holidays in January.

“Unfortunately, despite demand being high for Japan, we had to cancel some of our flight due to restrictions.” Lavinia Lau, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer said.

Meanwhile, South Korea is expected to lift its travel restrictions in March as well. Earlier, the flights coming from Hong Kong and Macau must landed at Seoul’s Incheon Airport. Also, the passengers from both cities are not allowed to transit at Incheon. It is expected Hong Kong carrier could touch down other airports in the country again, such as Jeju and Busan.

In addition, Taiwan has fully reopened to Hong Kong citizens on Feb. 20. The long-awaited decision is paving the way for the recovery of aviation industry. Taiwan is one of Hongkongs’s favorite travel destinations as well. China Airlines, the main rivals of Cathay Pacific, has announced that it will operate 40 weekly flights in March. EVA Air will also enhance its services by the end of March.

Hit One Million Milestone

Cathay Pacific has struggled to keep its head above water during the Covid. After three years of the pandemic, the carrier revealed that it had carried over 1 million passengers in January, an increase of 4,000% compare with same time last year. It was the first time the airline reached a million passengers since the pandemic began in early 2020. However, the traffic was only 33% of pre-Covid levels.

The flag carrier saw the demand of leisure travel over the Lunar New Year Holidays was strong, particularly to Japan, Thailand and Singapore. It also resumed the flight operation to Phuket, Thailand. As a result of the surged demand to China, the airline has resumed the services to Xian, operating up to three daily flights Shanghai, 11 flights per week to Beijing.

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