Cathay Pacific is planning to stop running around 90% of its China-bound flights for two months citing that the coronavirus outbreak in China is heavily hitting customer demand.
South China Morning Post reported that the airline’s chief executive Augustus Tang Kin-wing said the company would reduce overall flight capacity by about 30% as the outbreak has had a very significant impact on Cathay Pacific’s business. It’s also been reported that passenger numbers have recently nosedived by 50%.
Flights to a number of Chinese cities have been suspended for the time being, including services to Guangzhou, Xiamen, Hangzhou, and Chongqing. In addition, flights to Shanghai Pudong are being reduced to only two or three flights a day.
Tang also said the airline has taken measures to preserve cash and would announce further significant short-term measures to reduce capacity due to the drop in customer demand. Though the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports that the airline has no plans to dismiss its employees, management is said to be considering introducing mandatory unpaid leave to cope with the shrinking passenger demand.
This all happens as members of staff at Cathay Pacific’s sister airline Cathay Dragon are currently threatening to go on strike unless the company meets their demands to suspend all flights between Hong Kong and Chinese destinations. A vote organised by Cathay Dragon’s employees on whether the strike will take place is planned for Saturday as the airline’s union has not called off the possibility of action.