Challenging first half of 2020 for Cathay Pacific; capacity cuts (also to Brussels) as demand weakens

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A few days ago, Cathay Pacific Group released combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for January 2020 that show decreases in the number of passengers carried and the amount of cargo and mail uplifted compared to the same month in 2019. The airline is suffering from the Corona virus (covid-19) outbreak in the region as demand for travel is dropping.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 3,010,012 passengers last month – a decrease of 3.8% compared to January 2019. Passenger load factor decreased by 1.3 percentage points to 84.7%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 0.3%.

The two airlines carried 151,964 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, a decrease of 8.9% compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor declined by 1.4 percentage points to 60.2%. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 3.2% while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased by 5.4%.

Due to very weak demand, Cathay Pacific will reduce 90% of its capacity to China, the rest of the airline’s network will be reduced from 30% to 40% for the remainder of February and March. The measures, however, are very likely to continue through April 2020.

With regard to Brussels, the airline will reduce its schedule from 4 weekly flights to twice weekly from 1 March and once weekly from 15 March.

The airline also asks staff to go on unpaid leave, freezes recruiting and training and warned its employees that the first half of 2020 will remain “extremely challenging financially“.

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