Well, that escalated quickly! <–I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately.
This morning, I detailed my latest conundrum as Cathay Pacific has canceled a trip of mine. I guess this article goes to show you how fast the airline industry moves (literally and figuratively).
As I said in my post, the last year has been rough for Cathay Pacific. The huge protests in Hong Kong that began in March 2019 had significant impacts on the airline. And I suspect the more recent coronavirus has continued to impact demand for travel to and through Hong Kong.
90% AND 30%…Ouch!
Many airlines have canceled flights to & from both mainland China and Hong Kong.
Yesterday, it was reported by Danny Lee at SCMP that over the next couple of months, Cathay Pacific will be cutting over 90% of their flights to mainland China, and about 30% of their overall route network.
WORDS FROM THE CEO
This morning Cathay Pacific’s CEO August Tang released this mesage:
“I am appealing to each and everyone of you to help… preserving our cash is now key to protecting our business.”
CANCELATION AND SUSPENSIONS
Suspending and/or canceling 90% of the flights to mainland China and 30% of an airline network is significant! For example, looking at routes to North America, airlineroute notes that Cathay Pacific has the following adjustments:
- Cancelled: 1x daily flight Hong Kong to Los Angeles
- Suspended: Hong Kong to Newark
- Suspended: 3x weekly Hong Kong to Toronto flights and;
- Terminating: Vancouver to New York route (my flight)
Taking a look at the full list of cuts will give you a glimpse into how massive the operation is at Cathay Pacific.
3 WEEKS OF UNPAID LEAVE
Perhaps the most shocking part of the equation involves their employees. Obviously, if Cathay Pacific is suspending so many routes, they have more employees than they need. So as the CEO mentioned in the video, Cathay Pacific is asking all 27,000 of their employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave between March 1 and June 30, 2020.
Cathay Pacific is in a challenging position. Not only are they dealing with the fallout from the protests, they are now dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
As unfortunate as it may be, the steps that the airline is taking (e.g. canceling/suspending flights, asking employees to take unpaid employee leave) only makes sense.
Personally, I feel really sad about this development because Hong Kong is one of my favorite destinations in the world.
What do you think about the steps the airline has taken to adjust? What would you do as a CEO of Cathay Pacific? What would your next steps be as an employee?