Thursday, August 18, 2022

Cathay Pacific bringing again extra planes to revive Hong Kong hub


A passenger walks to the First Class counter of Cathay Pacific Airways at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong, China April 4, 2018. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

DOHA — Cathay Pacific Airways, battered by strict quarantine guidelines which have led to a 98% fall in passenger numbers, is getting ready to deliver again extra planes to rebuild Hong Kong’s hub standing as restrictions ease, the airline’s chief govt mentioned.

“Now we have about one-third of our passenger fleet nonetheless parked within the desert, not being utilized,” Cathay Chief Government Augustus Tang instructed Reuters on the sidelines of an airline trade gathering in Doha. “We’re making preparations for them progressively coming again forward of the curve.”

Rival Singapore Airways has seen a surge in demand since Singapore’s quarantine guidelines eased. It was again at 61% of pre-COVID-19 capability in Might, filling 78.2% of seats in its greatest month for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

Cathay, against this, operated solely 4% of its pre-COVID capability in Might and stuffed 60.5% of its seats.

The necessity for crew members on passenger flights to quarantine in a lodge for 3 days after flying to locations exterior mainland China means it has few frequencies to supply potential transit passengers.

Passengers heading to Hong Kong additionally face every week of lodge quarantine on arrival, limiting demand.

Tang mentioned it was encouraging that Hong Kong had progressively been decreasing the quarantine time required, which as soon as was as excessive as three weeks for passengers from locations together with the US and Britain.

“It’s shifting in the proper path, and the momentum is gathering and so we’re fairly optimistic that we’re going to see increasingly more of this opening up,” he mentioned.

Cathay has 45 passenger locations again in operation at current, up from 30 at first of the yr, and plans for as much as 70 to be obtainable by the top of the yr as demand improves, he mentioned. That compares to the 108 passenger locations it operated earlier than the pandemic.

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