Cathay Pacific to slash services to 4 percent - RTHK
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Cathay Pacific to slash services to 4 percent

2020-03-20 HKT 13:27
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  • Cathay says it will operate three passenger flights a week to just 15 destinations during April and May. File image: Shutterstock
    Cathay says it will operate three passenger flights a week to just 15 destinations during April and May. File image: Shutterstock
Wendy Wong reports
Cathay Pacific announced on Friday that it will reduce capacity on its passenger network by 96 percent in April and May, due to a severe drop in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline said the "bare skeleton" service it had already warned of will involve just three Cathay Pacific flights per week to a dozen destinations: London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Tokyo, Taipei, New Delhi, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Sydney, as well as three Cathay Dragon flights per week to three destinations: Beijing, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.

"Our ability to maintain even this skeleton schedule will depend on whether more travel restrictions are imposed by governments around the world which will further dampen passenger demand," a statement said.

The airline said its freighter network remains intact and it is ramping up its cargo capacity by mounting charter services and operating some suspended passenger services just for airfreight, to meet demand.

“As Hong Kong’s home airlines, it is important that we continue to provide important passenger and cargo connections to and from the Hong Kong hub. We will therefore endeavour to maintain a minimal number of flights to and from key destinations in our network to ensure these vital arteries remain open," said chief customer and commercial officer, Ronald Lam.

“We need to take difficult but decisive measures as the scale of the challenge facing the global aviation industry is unprecedented. We have no choice but to significantly reduce our passenger capacity as travel restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for our customers to travel and demand has dropped drastically," Lam added.

The statement said the company is resilient and management remain confident about its long-term future.

Cathay said earlier this month that 80 percent of its employees had agreed to take three weeks of unpaid leave, as it warned of a substantial loss in the first half of the year and said it could not rule out job cuts.