Facing the ongoing Coronavirus Outbreak as airlines extend their flight suspensions beyond China to Hong Kong, Hong Kong's hometown airline Cathay Pacific has announced more cuts to flights on its network.
Citing a drop in market demand due to the outbreak, Cathay Pacific – which has already cut its capacity to China by 90% - is extending the flight suspensions and service reductions to several destinations on its network over the next two months.
Among the destinations that will see Cathay Pacific slashing its flights include: London Gatwick, Rome, Washington DC, Newark, Male, Davao, Clark, Jeju, Taichung, and all mainland China cities with the exception of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xiamen. According to the airline, the cuts will result in a reduction of 30% of its overall capacity.
All the named destinations will see Cathay Pacific suspend its flights immediately until March 28. Each destination will see different amounts of service cuts and/or complete suspensions.
The decision to make more flight cuts comes as the airline – which faced the Hong Kong protests of 2019 – now has to make operational adjustments to face the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020. Cathay Pacific has now asked its 27,000 employees to take unpaid leave for three weeks anytime between March 1 and June 30.
“I am appealing to each and every one of you to help,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Augustus Tang said in a video to staff, adding that the situation the airline is facing was “just as grave” as the global financial crisis in 2009. “Preserving our cash is now key to protecting our business,” he added.