Cathay Pacific cuts 96% of its network as coronavirus causes global aviation contraction

Mar 20, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The airline did not mince words.

“Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon intend to operate a bare skeleton passenger flight schedule in April and May, though our freighter capacity remains intact,” the carrier said in a statement Friday. “Our ability to maintain even this skeleton schedule will depend on whether more travel restrictions are imposed by governments around the world which will further dampen passenger demand.”

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news.

Coronavirus has created a rapid reduction in demand for passenger air travel, and airlines around the world have instituted sweeping cuts to their schedules in order to try to maintain some degree of financial viability with limited revenue coming in.

Cathay Pacific has been especially vulnerable. Coronavirus broke out in Asia before spreading to Europe and the Americas, and the Hong Kong-based carrier was already facing a demand slump due to widespread protests in the autonomous region that have been going on sporadically since last year.

As a result, the airline will fly at only 4% capacity in April and May, operating just three weekly flights each on a dozen routes including to London, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Its Cathay Dragon subsidiary will operate a further three weekly flights each on three additional routes.

Related: Some airlines have completely suspended service during coronavirus pandemic.

Cathay is far from the only airline to implement dramatic changes to its operations as a result of the pandemic.

Lufthansa Group, Europe’s largest airline conglomerate, has implemented widespread cuts across its network. Some other airlines like Qantas and Virgin Australia have suspended all international flying, and still others, like Canadian carrier Porter, have temporarily halted all operations.

Related: U.S. airlines’ coronavirus-related waivers and schedule cuts.

Even U.S. carriers, which have had historically strong finances in recent years, have had to curtail large segments of their operations. That’s led some airlines to try different methods of maintaining revenue streams. American Airlines, for example, has started scheduling cargo-only flights for the first time since 1984. On the passenger side, American plans to fly only three long-haul routes during the peak of its coronavirus-related schedule cuts.

Featured photo by Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

More: These are the only long-haul routes American, Delta, Hawaiian and United plan to fly in April

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.