Cathay Pacific H1 profit surges

A Cathay Pacific passenger aircraft (Boeing 747-412) taxis toward the runway at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California.
Robert Alexander | Getty Images

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific Airways said its net profit rocketed in the first half from a low base a year earlier, beating analysts' estimates, as it launched new long-haul services and operated new, more fuel-efficient jets.

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday Cathay said that January-June net profit jumped nearly 15-fold to HK$347 million from HK$24 million a year ago, when earnings were squeezed by high fuel prices and weak cargo demand. That was well above the mean estimate of HK$153 million by three analysts polled by Reuters.

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The airline is stepping up flights to U.S. destinations, selling tickets at hefty discounts, in an effort to lure traffic to and from Asia away from international rivals like Singapore Airlines.

Cathay doesn't report earnings on a quarterly basis. Under Hong Kong stock exchange rules, companies are only required to file earnings every six months.