Hong Kong's flagship air carrier Cathay Pacific is expecting 2010 to be a good year after a dismal 2009, CEO Tony Tyler told CNBC on Tuesday.
"The signs for this quarter (are) reasonably good, " he said. "I think we're gonna have a pretty good Chinese New Year. January saw pretty good traffic and the premium traffic of course was nothing like it was during the peak premium seasons of October, November, December, but nevertheless it was a lot better than the year before."
He noted that premium and cargo traffic will have to recover for the airline to post strong results. While Cathay Pacific has no trouble filling its economy class, Tyler said the key is to attract premium passengers.
"That's why we've kept our product up there as the world's best so that those premium passengers have got a reason to fly Cathay Pacific."
The recovery of the airline industry continues to be dependent on the world economy, especially Asia, Tyler said.
"As usual, Asia seems to bounce back a bit faster. I think the China economy remains robust, the Hong Kong economy is in pretty good shape, other Asian economies also. They're looking better than those economies in America and Europe."
The rebound in the sector has also allowed Cathay to add new destinations to its list, he added.
"We have one or two destinations on our radar screen. We are doing it Cathay Pacific style. That's to do these things cautiously, sensibly, (and) without going mad."
-- Catch the full interview with Cathay Pacific CEO Tony Tyler on Managing Asia this Friday, 5 February 2010 at 7:30pm Sin/HK, with repeats all weekend. Refer to schedule here.