We had reported earlier about how the coronavirus had led to the downfall of aviation in Asia-Pacific, particularly, China, Hong Kong, and other East Asian aviation industries. In a recent report, Cathay Dragon and Cathay Pacific stated they would cut capacity by 96 percent across their passenger network in April and May 2020. Hong Kong Express also stated it would suspend all operations until the end of April 2020.
Cathay Dragon and Cathay Pacific said they plan to operate a bare skeleton passenger flight schedule in April and May, though the freighter capacity remains intact.
Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said:
‘As Hong Kong’s home airlines, it is important that we continue to provide important passenger and cargo connections to and from the Hong Kong hub. We will therefore endeavour to maintain a minimal number of flights to and from key destinations in our network’
Low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express said on Friday, March 20, 2020, that the airline would be suspending all flight operations on a short-term basis starting from March 23, 2020 until April 30, 2020 in light of the significant drop in travel demand as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The airline is looking into resuming operations on May 1, 2020, and is closely monitoring the development of the situation. Ticket sales do remain available for May 2020 and beyond. Hong Kong Express has already cancelled about 2,000 flights amidst the ongoing crisis.
HK Express Chief Executive Mandy Ng said:
‘Unfortunately, it is now essential in order to ensure we see ourselves through this extremely difficult period. Given all the challenges we have been facing, preserving our cash position is key to make sure we stay together as team.’
Hong Kong aviation sector has particularly suffered significantly, first due to the economic instability and later due to the pandemic. This is one of those times during which only the fittest survive. For airlines that were struggling before the pandemic hit, like Hong Kong Airlines, this drop in demand and cash flow might as well be the final nail in the coffin. We are continuing to watch global aviation closely as more airlines across different geographies are trying to mitigate through this crisis, by using pretty much similar tactics – route cuts, delayed payments, and requesting employees to take unpaid leaves.
What do you think about the effect of the ongoing crisis on Asian aviation? Which airlines are the most vulnerable and susceptible to the effects of the pandemic? Let us know in the comments!