General Industry

Cathay Pacific Warns Its Passenger Capacity Could Be Cut And Its Cash Burn Could Rise

By Dave Simpson
Cathay Pacific Warns Its Passenger Capacity Could Be Cut And Its Cash Burn Could Rise

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has warned that its passenger capacity could be cut by approximately 60% and its monthly cash burn may rise if Hong Kong implements new measures that require flight crew to quarantine for two weeks.

Hong Kong's flagship carrier said that the expected move will increase its cash burn by approximately HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of the current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.

Hong Kong is set to require flight crew entering the Asian financial hub for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, The South China Morning Post reported last week, citing sources.

"The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets," Cathay said in a statement, adding that expected curbs will also reduce its cargo capacity by 25%.

In an internal memo seen by Reuters, the airline requested for volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding that it will be a temporary measure and not all of its flight will require such an operation.


"We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong government," the memo said.

In an e-mailed response to Reuters, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said, "In the light of the evolving pandemic situation locally and internationally, the government will keep reviewing and refining the arrangements applicable to different categories of exempted persons, including air crew, with reference to all relevant considerations."

Separately, a company spokesperson said that the airline could not detail the impact on vaccine transport specifically in terms of cargo shipments.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries have imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.

December Passenger And Cargo Statistics

In December, Cathay's passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared to a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.