Back to black: Cathay says it has ended two years of losses

HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific said yesterday it is expected to have swung back to profit in 2018, ending two successive losses as it embarks on a massive overhaul.

The recovery also came in a year that saw it suffer an embarrassing data breach that dented its reputation and could could prove costly.

The airline said it expects to record a consolidated profit of around USD293 million for 2018, compared with USD160 million losses the year before, according to a preliminary profit alert.

The company’s share price jumped more than seven per cent after the announcement as investors took comfort in the turnaround after two grim years for Asia’s largest carrier.

“In 2018, the passenger business benefitted from capacity growth, a focus on customer service and improved revenue management,” the company said in a statement, adding its cargo sector was also “strong”.

Cathay has been overhauling its business after posting its first losses in eight years in 2016, firing more than 600 workers and paring overseas offices and crew stations as it faced stiff competition from budget rivals on the mainland.

It also added international routes and better services on board its flights in a bid to compete with well-heeled Middle Eastern long-distance carriers.

A Cathay Pacific passenger jet taking off from Hong Kong International Airport. – AFP