Cathay Pacific cuts long-haul cargo flights as quarantine rules tightened

Cathay Pacific has actually stopped all long-haul freight flights for a week after Hong Kong tightened its quarantine limitations for air team, triggering the provider to caution of “dramatic disruptions” to the city’s supply of important products.

“Cathay Pacific Cargo will pause all long-haul freighter and cargo-only passenger flights with immediate effect for a period of seven days, up to 6 January,” the airline company stated on Friday.

The choice will impact transpacific, European, south-west Pacific, Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates-bound truck flights, the provider included.

Cathay likewise stated it would make “significant changes” and cancel more traveler flights in the very first quarter of next year as it runs a “skeleton” schedule in January.

The relocation came simply days after authorities in Hong Kong extended quarantine limitations for air team since of the development of the Omicron variation. The city currently had a few of the world’s most strict pandemic controls under a “zero-Covid” method,

Freight air team who were formerly exempt from quarantine upon arrival should now go through 7 days of compulsory seclusion in a hotel, according to an internal memo sent out to Cathay pilots on Thursday that has actually been seen by the Financial Times.

Regional health authorities had actually formerly revealed that team would need to quarantine for 3 days. Hong Kong’s Transportation and Real estate Bureau did not right away react to an ask for remark.

Cathay pilots have actually currently been suffering low spirits due to the city’s difficult limitations, with some explaining the city’s Covid control procedures as “permanent quarantine”.

Andy Wong, Cathay’s basic supervisor of business affairs, stated the functional and take a trip limitations continued “to constrain our ability to operate flights as planned” and the provider was combining traveler and freight flight schedules for early 2022.

Cathay’s figures for November, prior to the development of Omicron, revealed overall freight transported was down 24 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels. The airline company’s traveler capability had actually fallen more than 90 percent compared to the exact same duration in 2019.

“We are wary that any further tightening of air crew quarantine arrangements would lead to reductions in flight frequencies to protect the wellbeing of our crew members and the overall safety of our operations,” Wong stated.

He included: “Such action would, in turn, cause dramatic disruptions to supply chains in the short-term, jeopardising the adequate supply of essential goods in an already scarce supply chain environment, impacting the livelihoods of thousands of people in Hong Kong and undermining Hong Kong International Airport as a leading cargo hub.”

Air travel experts have actually raised issues that Hong Kong’s difficult Covid guidelines threats weakening the city’s status as a worldwide flight and logistics center.

Last month, US-based freight group FedEx relocated to shut its team base in Hong Kong and move personnel overseas. Airline companies consisting of Finnair, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airline companies have actually been prohibited from flying numerous paths into the city after cases were taped on people who had actually gotten here on the providers.

Hong Kong has actually taped 81 Omicron cases since Thursday, and health specialists alerted the area might be on the brink of a break out after a minimum of 2 community-spread cases were found. The cases are thought to connected to a Cathay air team member.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.