Cathay Pacific has embarked on a massive overhaul as it looked to end two years of losses

Hong Kong (AFP) - Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific on Wednesday announced a net profit of HK$2.35 billion ($299 million) last year, ending two successive annual losses as it embarks on a massive overhaul.

The recovery, which compares with a $160 million loss in 2017, also came in a year that saw it suffer an embarrassing data breach that dented its reputation and could prove costly.

The result was in line with a preliminary alert last month that the airline was back in the black as investors took comfort in the turnaround after two grim years for Asia’s largest carrier.

“Overcapacity in passenger markets resulted in intense competition with other airlines, particularly those from mainland China,” said chairman John Slosar in a statement with the latest report.

“But the passenger business benefited from capacity growth, a focus on customer service and improved revenue management,” he said, also citing “strong” cargo business.

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

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.