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Cathay Pacific to make further cuts to flights amid COVID-19 pandemic: Internal memo

Cathay Pacific to make further cuts to flights amid COVID-19 pandemic: Internal memo

FILE PHOTO: Cathay Pacific aircraft are seen parked on the tarmac at the airport, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Hong Kong, China March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

SYDNEY: Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways will make further cuts to passenger capacity because of extremely low demand, leaving it with just two flights a week each to four destinations in April, according to an internal memo.

The airline carried only 582 passengers one day this week with a load factor of 18.3 per cent, which compares to 100,000 customers on a normal day, Cathay chief executive Augustus Tang said in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.

The carrier will maintain a skeleton network with two weekly passenger flights from Hong Kong to London, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Sydney and will also try to capitalise on stronger cargo demand, he said.

"However, the reduction of capacity on our wide body fleet means our cargo revenues are still well below last year," Tang said.

READ: British Airways temporarily lays off 28,000 staff

READ: Global air passenger demand sees steepest decline since 911 - IATA

Most Cathay employees already agreed to take three weeks of unpaid leave as part of an effort to cut costs.

Tang said further unpaid leave in the form of temporary stand-downs and furloughs were occurring in some regions for ground employees where it had stopped flights or reduced capacity.

He will take a 30 per cent cut to his base salary from April to December, as will Chairman Patrick Healy, with executive directors taking a 25 per cent cut, the memo said.

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Source: Reuters/jt

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