Cathay forced to axe long-haul services


Cathay may be forced to reduce its passenger service by as much as 60%.


Cathay Pacific is being forced to axe many of its long-haul services due to strict quarantine measures for Hong Kong-based flight crew due come into force later this month.


From February 20, all flights to Australia except for Sydney have been cancelled, as well as services to Vancouver, San Francisco, Auckland and Frankfurt. Regional flights to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh and Cebu will also be suspended.


One-way flights to Tel Aviv and London will continue to operate as well as one-way flights from Amsterdam to Hong Kong.


Earlier this month, the Hong Kong government announced that pilots and cabin crew based in the city would need to quarantine for 14 days in a designated hotel and for a further seven days under medical surveillance once they had returned to Hong Kong after being on duty.


It’s believed that under these circumstances pilots and cabin crew will only be able to fly one long-haul flight per month.


There is no indication as to how long the new regulations will be in force. The carrier says it is now planning its staff rosters for March to comply with the regulations. Further flight updates are expected to be released on February 22. Cathay boss Ronald Lam Siu-por said the measures would “have a significant impact” on the airline’s passenger and cargo services.


“At this stage, our preliminary assessment is that the new measure may result in a reduction of current passenger capacity of around 60%, a reduction of current cargo capacity of around 25% and a further increase in our cash burn of approximately HK$300-400 million per month, on top of our current HK$1-1.5 billion levels,” he said.