Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific is to “substantially” increase capacity from London Heathrow in the final two months of 2022 as it rebuilds its long-haul network.
Cathay said it would add another 31,500 seats between London and Hong Kong in November and December, with up to four flights per day operating on certain days during December. The carrier said that load factor on the route in September reached 96 per cent, boosted by UK-bound student traffic.
“Customers can also look forward to the return of our first class offering on our prime London Heathrow flight, CX251/CX252, starting on 5 and 6 December respectively,” said chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam.
The airline has been gradually rebuilding its European network following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, including the ending of mandatory hotel quarantine for visitors in late September. Cathay’s services from Madrid and Milan to Hong Kong have also resumed this month.
“The removal of hotel quarantine arrangements for passengers arriving in Hong Kong was a very welcome development that has helped boost sentiment for travel,” added Lam.
Cathay is serving 51 destinations worldwide in October and is “on course” to achieving its target of doubling the 29 routes that it operated in January 2022 by the end of this year.
“We will continue to add more flights in the coming months,” said Lam. “In addition to the flight sectors previously scheduled for November and December, we will be adding close to 700 and 1,200 sectors respectively. This will add more than half a million seats for passengers to choose from.”
Despite stepping up operations in September, Cathay’s overall seat capacity was still only around 16 per cent of pre-Covid levels. During the month, the airline carried around 266,000 passengers, up by 102 per cent on September 2021 but still down by 89 per cent compared with September 2019.