In addition, the group has cut more than three-quarters of their weekly flights in March. Around 1,470 weekly flights were originally scheduled for this month, but it is now been trimmed down by more than 1,120 flights.
Back in 2003, during the SARS crisis, Cathay trimmed 45% of their scheduled flights and had around 30% of their fleet idling on the ground. Comparing these two epidemics, it appears that Convid-19 is bringing a greater impact to the airline.
In the past couple of weeks, Cathay Pacific has asked 27,000 employees to take 3 weeks unpaid leave; they have also temporarily closed three of their premium lounges at Hong Kong International Airport.
Explaining the situation, an analyst from Bocom International, Luya You, said that “an outbreak is the kind of macro impact that is really hard for an airline to plan around… during an outbreak, all of it collapses because people, no matter the price point, are no longer willing to fly”.
Singapore Airlines, one of Cathay’s closest rival, has temporarily suspended over 3,000 flights, from February until the end of May. In addition, the management team is taking a 15% pay cut; they will also be offering a voluntary no-pay leave scheme to employees.