Cathay Pacific is back on track with services restored

HONG KONG. Hong Kong’s leading carrier Cathay Pacific has announced that it has fully restored services to pre-SARS levels by the end of September, but it said yields remained under pressure.

In August 2003, Cathay Pacific carried 1,083,011 passengers, a +23.9% rise over the previous month but a drop of -5.3% from August 2002. This trend is seen as improving through September.

The airline has launched an enhanced winter schedule with additional flights. Services to London have also been increased to three times daily, more than any other carrier. A third weekly service has also already been added to Sapporo and the number of weekly flights to Auckland has been increased from seven to ten. Additional services to Auckland, Melbourne and Rome will be mounted from the start of the airline’s winter schedule, on 26 October.

Following SARS, the airline was able to stimulate passenger demand and attract tourists back to Hong Kong with initiatives including the discounted “Early Bird” fares, “Visit Hong Kong Now” holiday packages and the multiple-ticket “World Pass” promotion.

While passenger traffic has improved during the peak summer season, Cathay said yields have been depressed as competition between airlines remains keen.

Cathay Pacific director and chief operating officer Philip Chen commented: “As Hong Kong’s airline, Cathay Pacific remained committed to Hong Kong during the difficult period.

“We worked very hard to maintain our network and restore services in order to keep Hong Kong connected to the world, and started to progressively reinstate suspended services in July. Now we are continuing to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as the region’s leading hub by adding flights to key destinations.”

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