Breaking news coming out of Hong Kong is that Cathay Pacific will only fly to 12 cities in April and May of 2020. This significantly reduced flight schedule comes as the airline is facing a severe drop in demand and travel restrictions across the globe.
Cathay Pacific cuts capacity by 96%
For the months of April and May, the Hong Kong-based carrier announced that it was cutting 96% of its passenger capacity across Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. This will leave the airlines operating a “bare skeleton” flight schedule. However, the airline will continue to fly its full cargo schedule.
This will leave Cathay Pacific operating three flights per week to 12 cities:
- Los Angeles
- New Delhi
- Ho Chi Minh City
Meanwhile, Cathay Dragon will only fly three flights per week to three cities:
- Kuala Lumpur
Chief Customer and Commercial Officer for Cathay Pacific, Ronald Lam, had the following to say on this development:
“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.”
He went further to note that the airline will upgrade cargo capacity with charter services and flying some passenger routes that are currently suspended as cargo-only flights to meet air freight demand.
On the future, Mr. Lam also offered the following statement:
“Cathay Pacific is a resilient company. While we shall have much more to deal with given the challenges ahead, we remain confident in the long-term future of the company, the Hong Kong hub and our ability to thrive in Asia Pacific.”
Where does this leave Cathay Pacific?
It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on airlines across the world. Cathay Pacific is one that is feeling the crunch. Cutting 96% of passenger capacity in two months is no small deal and just goes to show the immense impact of this pandemic on the airline’s operations.
Already, a significant number of the airline’s fleet is parked and six aircraft have been sold. This number, now, is expected to rise given these immense schedule cuts.
However, despite announcing it will continue to fly to these 12 cities, the airline did leave open the option for cutting more flights if travel restrictions continue to grow and to dampen passenger demand.
Hong Kong is no small market. And, given the city’s strong business ties, Cathay must maintain some flights to offer key connections. But, as one of the world’s most “global” airlines, this is a stark show of the toll the virus is taking on air travel.
Cathay Pacific is only flying to 12 cities in April and May while Cathay Dragon is only flying to 3 in the same period of time. This is equivalent to a 96% capacity reduction. And, even then, these flights are contingent upon no further travel restrictions and declining passenger demand. It is clear, however, that this crisis will take a major toll on the airline’s financial performance this year.
What do you make of Cathay Pacific’s significantly reduced schedule in April and May? Let us know in the comments!