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Cathay Pacific posts wider $834 million loss in 2022, upbeat on outlook



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350-900 airplane approaches to land at Changi International Airport in Singapore June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Tim Chong

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways (OTC:) Ltd reported on Wednesday an annual loss of HK$6.55 billion ($834.4 million) for 2022, wider than the previous year’s loss, but was positive about the outlook now that quarantine is no longer required.

In January, the airline forecast a loss of between HK$6.4 billion and HK$7 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 31 after facing tough pandemic-related rules during the period.

Analysts had expected an average annual loss of HK$4.4 billion, according to Refinitiv data. They forecast a HK$3.9 billion profit for this year now that Hong Kong and mainland China have ended border restrictions.

“We were very encouraged to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel in the second half of 2022, and the positive momentum has continued into 2023,” Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lam said in a statement.

“After three brutal years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have finally entered into a new exciting phase, in which we will rebuild Cathay Pacific for Hong Kong,” Lam added.

Cathay was badly hit by COVID-related flight cancellations, border closures and strict quarantine measures for crew during the pandemic, resulting in drastic headcount reductions.

Cathay said it was operating about one-third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by December and ended the year operating passenger flights to 58 destinations, double the 29 destinations the airline flew to in January 2022.

($1 = 7.8498 Hong Kong dollars)

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