Cathay Pacific cargo capacity drops 25% in March

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As a result of new crew quarantine measures in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific saw its cargo capacity drop by 25 per cent in March, 2021.

General manager of cargo commercial George Edmunds said in a statement that the new crew quarantine measures were the biggest obstacle faced to normal cargo operations.

The new measures, introduced on February 20, mean that all Hong Kong-based crews need to quarantine for two or three weeks when returning from an international flight.

“These measures only affect airlines with Hong Kong-based aircrew and so apply to the vast majority of our pilots; therefore, there is an outsized impact on our operations relative to other carriers,” Edmunds said.

As a result, the airline flew around 25% less cargo capacity overall in March, with weekly freighter frequencies between Hong Kong and the US reduced from the usual 34 to around 21-28 flights per week.

Edmunds warned cargo capacity would fall further this month.

“This schedule is further reduced this month as crew who have volunteered for the closed-loop operation enter quarantine before a well-earned period of leave,” Edmunds said.

“The major impact of these quarantine requirements is on our long-haul routes, in particular to Europe, Southwest Pacific and the Americas.

“We have therefore looked to redeploy more freighters on regional and short-haul routes where closed-loop operations are not required.”

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