Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific suspends flights to seven routes including the popular holiday destination, Maldives. In September, the airline restructured routes and lead to 5,900 employees losing their jobs.
Cathay Pacific Suspends Flights of Cathay Dragon
Cathay Pacific recently retired its regional arm Cathay Dragon. The airline group has consolidated planes, staffs, and routes under its namesake brand.
The bulk of the routes cut were serviced by Cathay Dragon. The airline flew to over fifty destinations in the network. Cathay Pacific expects to resume flying to regional destinations previously operated by Dragon.
The two brands overlapped on seventeen routes. Cathay Dragon operated most of the flights to mainland China. Before COVID-19, the Cathay group flew to ninety-three destinations worldwide.
Routes Suspended Including Maldives
South China Morning Post reports that Cathay Pacific suspends flights to the following seven routes:
- London Gatwick
- Washington DC
- The Maldives.
The decision means the airline will no longer fly to the US Capital as well as Newark (EWR) and London Gatwick (LGW). Flights to Seattle, Dublin and Male in the Maldives have also been axed.
Cathay Pacific will continue to fly to London Heathrow (LHR) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) in New York. The axed routes would not return next year but could be reinstated when global travel returns to normal. However, this might not happen until 2024.
Capacity Below 50 Percent Next Year
Cathay Pacific has been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There are no domestic flights and Hong Kong remains closed to tourist, except for the recently launched travel bubble with Singapore.
Even with a vaccine, it will take a while before a considerable number of the population has been vaccinated and travel restrictions lifted.
Cathay Pacific expects to operate below 25 percent of 2019 passenger capacity for the first half of 2021 and below 50 percent for the entire next year. The airline was one of the first and hardest hit by COVID-19. The airline reported losses of HKD9.87 billion (USD1.27 billion) the first six-months of this year. The government assisted with a HKD39 billion bailout.