Cathay Pacific Cuts April Capacity Below 4%

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Group has further slashed its April capacity from its originally planned 4% to 3% after a dismal start to its April passenger traffic. 

In a memo to airline staff, Cathay CEO Augustus Tang said there were only 582 passengers on one of the days during the week of March 30, with a load factor of 18.3%, according to the South China Morning Post. 

Cathay carried around 100,000 passengers daily prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The oneworld member announced on March 20 that it will cut 96% of its capacity for April and May and mount 3X-weekly flights to 15 destinations. 

The new measures will see Cathay maintaining the 3X-weekly service to eleven destinations in Asia, while long haul service to Los Angeles (LAX), London Heathrow (LHR), Sydney (SYD) and Vancouver (YVR)will be reduced to just twice a week. 

According to CAPA Route Capacity Analyser, Cathay generates 10,675 weekly seats between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and LHR at its peak. Between HKG and Singapore, capacity has nosedived from 17,500 seats to 540 weekly seats. 

The airline will be relying on its freight service for some income, which is one of the brighter spots in the Greater China region, although Cathay’s February operating statistics show a 6.9% year-on-year decline in cargo carriage. 

Tang and Cathay chairman Patrick Healy will take a 30% pay cut to their base salaries while executive directors will take 25% pay reductions. With more than 200 aircraft grounded, the majority of Cathay’s 32,000 strong staff have taken voluntary unpaid leave.


Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.