Cathay Pacific Group to cut capacity in winter 2019/20, remains optimistic in medium term

    Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam stated (11-Sep-2019) Aug-2019 was an “incredibly challenging month” for the airline and for Hong Kong, adding “we don’t anticipate September being any less difficult”. He said that due to “significant decline in forward bookings for the remainder of the year”, the carrier will make some short term “tactical measures” such as capacity realignments. Cathay is reducing capacity for the winter 2019/20 season, from Oct-2019 to Mar-2020, from its original growth plan of more than 6% for the period. Demand for premium class travel experienced a more significant decline relative to leisure travel and overall load factor fell significantly to 80%. Inbound arrivals to Hong Kong fell 38% while outbound travel declined 12%, “significantly” affecting the performance of airlines. Inbound traffic demand to Hong Kong from regional markets, particularly mainland China and North East Asia, was severely hit, though South Pacific routes were a bright spot for the airline. Looking ahead, Mr Lam said the carrier remains optimistic in the medium term.