HONGKONG – In the event of a new measure by Hongkong authorities to curb pandemic, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has warned of reduction in passenger capacity by about 60% and a monthly cash burn may rise. The financial hub may install new measures that require flight crew entering the region for more than two hours to quarantine for two weeks.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said the expected move will increase cash burn by about HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.
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%.
“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%.
The airline, in an internal memo has requested volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding it will be a temporary measure and not all its flight will require such an operation. “We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong Government,” the memo said.
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.”
The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.