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Cathay Pacific Will Offer “Bare Skeleton” Flight Schedule Through End of May, Cuts 96% of Flights

Cathay Pacific Will Offer “Bare Skeleton” Flight Schedule Through End of May, Cuts 96% of Flights

Cathay Pacific says it hopes to offer a “bare skeleton” passenger service through the end of May, slashing capacity by 96 per cent and only maintaining service to 12 destinations across its global route network. It’s regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon will only serve just 3 destinations while HK Express, which the airline group acquired last year, will cease all operations until further notice.

The airline group had already cut capacity by 65 per cent in March and had planned a 90 per cent capacity reduction for April.

Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific’s chief operations officer cautioned that further cuts may be announced in the coming days if more travel restrictions are imposed by governments around the world.

“We need to take difficult but decisive measures as the scale of the challenge facing the global aviation industry is unprecedented,” Lam explained. “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.”

Cathay Pacific will now only serve: London (Heathrow), Los Angeles, Vancouver, Tokyo (Narita), Taipei, New Delhi, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Sydney.

While Cathay Dragon will operate flights to: Beijing, Shanghai (Pudong), and Kuala Lumpur.

Cathay Pacific was one of the first airlines to be hit by what has now become the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and had already seen a massive decline in passenger demand. In February, the airline reported a near 55 per cent drop in passenger numbers compared to the same month in 2019.

Commenting on how long the cuts might go on for, Lam noted: “If we do not see a relaxation of travel restrictions in the near future, we expect the same arrangement will have to continue into May.”

Other carriers, including the likes of Qantas and Virgin Australia, have already cancelled all international serviced until the end of May at the earliest.

HK Express said it was bringing forward employee annual leave which would normally be taken in the second half of the year in order to manage the situation. Cathay Pacific has already asked staffers to take up to three weeks of unpaid leave, although it looks likely that this will now have to be extended.

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