Cathay Pacific eyes daily Hong Kong-Cebu flights

MANILA, Philippines  Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways is keen on increasing flight frequencies from Cebu as the airline group aims return operations to prepandemic level by the end of the year.

Vishnu Rajendran, country manager of the carrier, told the Inquirer they wanted to increase the frequency of the Cebu-Hong Kong route from five weekly flights to daily flights “as soon as we possibly can” given the positive outlook for air travel.

Prior to the pandemic, Rajendran said the Cebu network had twice daily flights—which the airline also intends to eventually restore sometime in the future.

He said the Manila-Hong Kong flight frequency had already returned to prepandemic level of seven daily flights. Passenger load factor, or an airline’s capability to fill up seats, for this route usually reaches 100 percent during peak season.

The operations of Cathay Pacific group, which flies to over 160 destinations across the globe, have reached 70 percent of its prepandemic capacity. The official expects a 100-percent capacity by the end of 2024.

READ: Cathay to regain 70% of prepandemic PH aviation business this year

Locally, Rajendran said air travel was being buoyed by strong tourism activities. “From the Philippines, we have a big tourist segment. For a lot of people, Hong Kong is the first international destination because of the proximity,” he said.

Hong Kong also serves as a transit hub for passengers going to the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and India.

READ: Cathay Pacific needs to address capacity issues, Hong Kong leader says

Rajendran said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were also driving the demand for flights in and out of Hong Kong. About 120,000 OFWs are based in Hong Kong, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.