Cathay Pacific scraps 96% of flights as virus stops travel
Cathay Pacific will slash passenger capacity by 96% in April and May as the coronavirus shuts down travel across the world.
The airline has already asked staff to take unpaid leave and warned that it faces a substantial loss in the first half of this year, with a HK$2 billion ($257 million) loss in February alone. It also said it would operate a “bare skeleton” schedule for passenger flights in the coming months.
The coronavirus has plunged the aviation industry into an unprecedented crisis, with Sydney-based CAPA warning that most carriers will go bankrupt by the end of May without government support. IATA said the industry needs state aid and bailouts of as much as $200 billion to survive, while the AAPA said the region’s carriers face revenue shortfalls of more than $60 billion this year.
Away from China, where the pandemic originated, major airlines have grounded thousands of planes and furloughed staff. Among those, Europe’s biggest carrier Lufthansa will idle 700 aircraft and 95% of seats, shrinking its flight schedule to a level last seen in 1955, while American Airlines will park 450 aircraft.