Cathay Pacific is expecting a 25% drop in current cargo capacity once new quarantine measures are implemented by the Hong Kong SAR Government next February.
Ronald Lam, chief customer and commercial officer, Cathay Pacific Group, commented: “Effective later within February 2021, the Hong Kong SAR Government will implement a new 14-day hotel quarantine plus 7-day medical surveillance requirement for both our Hong Kong-based pilots and cabin crew.
“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets. The actual extent of such impact is yet to be confirmed and will be affected by a number of factors, including the success of mitigation measures we are able to adopt, such as agile manpower resources management. At this stage, our preliminary assessment is that the new measure may result in a reduction of current passenger capacity of around 60%, a reduction of current cargo capacity of around 25% and a further increase in our cash burn of approximately HK$300-$400 million per month, on top of our current HK$1.0-1.5 billion levels.”
Lam added: “Cargo had a relatively good finish to 2020, in line with the overall positive performance seen in the second half of the year. December tonnage was up month-on-month by about 3%, with exports from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong holding up for longer than is normally expected at the end of the year.
The overall buoyancy of the market ensured that load factors continued to grow, averaging 80.3% in December – the highest monthly average in 2020. The imbalance in the market between demand and available capacity created an ongoing need for cargo-only passenger flights prior to Christmas, and overall in December we operated 713 pairs of these flights – only slightly fewer than in our peak month of November.