(Adds May figures, details on passenger and cargo plans)
June 18 (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on Friday that losses in the first half are expected to be “somewhat” lower than last year, due to cost-saving measures and strong demand for cargo flights.
Crew quarantine measures have eased since mid-April and that helped Cathay operate 24% more freighter flights and 18% more cargo-only passenger flights in May compared to April, the airline said in a statement.
“Our losses in the first half of 2021, while still very substantial, are expected to be somewhat lower than the losses reported in both the first and second halves of 2020,” the airline said in a statement.
Cathay reported a first-half net loss of HK$9.87 billion ($1.27 billion) last year and a net loss of HK$11.78 billion in the second half.
Cathay said it is “cautiously” adding more passenger flights and destinations, and plans to operate at around 30% of its pre-pandemic passenger capacity by the fourth quarter.
While passenger numbers climbed 30% in May to 24,006, the airline said they remain 99% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Around 90% of its pilots and 64% of cabin crew in Hong Kong have either booked or received a COVID-19 vaccination, the company added.
($1 = 7.7634 Hong Kong dollars)
Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel