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Cathay Pacific losses narrow as COVID-19 restrictions ease

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Associated Press (AP) — Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways said on Wednesday that its loss in the first half narrowed as the loosening of quarantine rules boosted passenger numbers.

But it warned that crew quarantine restrictions are limiting the airline's ability to increase capacity. ($637 million), down from HK$7.57 billion ($964.5 million) in the same period last year.

Hong Kong eased its strict quarantine rule from 14 days earlier this year to he seven days, and from Friday to just three days.

Along with mainland China, it is one of the few places in the world to mandate mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers. Such measures limit the recovery of Cathay and the city's tourism industry as travelers choose other destinations that are fully open.

Cathay's first-half revenue increased 17% to HK$18.6 billion, mainly due to increased passenger numbers following the easing of quarantine measures.

Cathay Airways said it aims to operate at 65% of its pre-COVID freight capacity and 25% of its pre-COVID passenger capacity by December. Stated.

"However, in the short-term, it is clear that Hong Kong is lagging far behind other international aviation hubs, and regional competitors are likely to suffer from disruptions caused by the global pandemic. He is recovering much faster," Pacific Chairy's Patrick Healy said at a press conference on Wednesday.

He also said the city's quarantine requirements for crew members are limiting their ability to fly. Yet the ability to mount additional capacity is also limited," he said. “Once all COVID-related restrictions on flight crews are lifted, we will be able to gradually increase both cargo and passenger capacity in the coming months.”

Cathay's share price in Hong Kong rose 1% after the earnings release.

The city's airlines lag behind competitors such as Singapore Airlines, which reported a net profit of S$370 million ($268.5 million) last month. Singapore lifted her COVID-19 entry restrictions and does not mandate quarantine for tourists.