Cathay Pacific group has cancelled more than half of its flights

Cathay Pacific group has cancelled more than half of its flights

A Cathay Pacific employee wearing a protective mask pushes a luggage cart through Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Bloomberg photo)
A Cathay Pacific employee wearing a protective mask pushes a luggage cart through Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Bloomberg photo)

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have cancelled more than half their flights in February and March amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The airlines together will cut 783 flights per week in February and 835 per week in March, reducing their services by 52 and 57% respectively.

The South China Morning Post studied all 107 routes to 101 airports served by Cathay Pacific, which mostly concentrates on long-haul flights and major cities in Asia, while its regional arm Cathay Dragon takes care of all other regional Asia flights, including the bulk of mainland China services.

Some 90% of the group's reduction falls on mainland China services. The airlines will only fly to Beijing, Shanghai - Pudong and Hongqiao airports - Xiamen, and Chengdu on the mainland, but on a vastly scaled back service. Only 39 of its 368 services to these areas will run during the next two months.

Flights to Shanghai's Pudong airport have been reduced from 91 a week to just seven.

Taiwan's 14-day quarantine order on anyone arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macau has nearly eliminated the ability for people to travel.

Cathay's flights to Taipei have been hacked from 93 a week to just four. The Hong Kong-Taipei route, on which the group is the biggest airline operator, has often been ranked as the one of the world's busiest air routes. Kaohsiung, where Cathay used to fly 49 times a week, will not have any flights in the next two months.

But two bright spots in Cathay Pacific's flight schedules for the period have been New York and Vancouver. Its flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York will rise from 11 to 14 a week, while Vancouver flights will double to 14 in February and remain at 10 in March.

Among the routes suspended completely until March 28 are London (Gatwick), Rome, Washington, Newark, Male, Davao, Clark, Jeju, and Taichung.

Last Tuesday, Cathay warned it would reduce 30% of its global operations, while also cutting 90% of mainland flights.

The company reiterated the decision was made "in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent drop in market demand". A list of cancelled flights and reduced services was released for the group's corporate customers.

On Feb 12, the airline's chief executive officer Augustus Tang Kin-wing appealed to all its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave between the start of March and the end of June to cope with the situation.

The group's hometown rival Hong Kong Airlines on Friday said it would cut 400 jobs and asked its staff to take two months of unpaid leave between mid-February and the end of June.

Scores of foreign airlines have also cut their services to Hong Kong.

Taiwan's China Airlines will go from running 18 daily flights to Hong Kong to just two from next week until March 28, while Eva Air will switch from more than 11 daily flights to fewer than four a day to the city for the rest of the month.


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