Friday, April 24, 2009

Cathay to cut KK-Hong Kong flights

CATHAY Pacific will reduce its daily Kota Kinabalu-Hong Kong flights to four times a week in line with the airline's overall strategy to cut frequencies to cope with falling passenger travel.

Its sister airline, Dragonair, is the carrier that plies the route and will fly four times a week effective May 2009.

"We are reducing flight frequencies for destinations that have quite a number of flights. But we will try to keep our network intact without cutting routes," Katherine Lo, Cathay Pacific country manager for Malaysia and Brunei told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Lo said Cathay Pacific was not reducing its daily flights between Kuala Lumpur-Hong Kong and Penang-Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific said last week it will reduce passenger capacity by eight per cent and overall cargo capacity by 11 per cent from May.

The airline is re-deploying its aircraft to more profitable routes and will increase flights from Hong Kong to Denpasar, Sapporo and Bahrain/ Riyadh.

Meanwhile, Lo said Malaysian employees with Cathay Pacific have been supportive of the airline's special leave scheme aimed at conserving cash.

"Almost 90 per cent of our 80 employees in Malaysia have participated in the voluntary scheme that was announced last Friday at the group level," said Lo.

Under the special leave scheme, all Cathay Pacific employees have been asked to take unpaid leave of one to four weeks, depending on seniority, over a 12 month period from May 1 2009 till April 30 2010.

Lo said the remaining year will continue to be a challenge for the airline, following its 22.4 per cent drop in turnover for the first quarter of 2009.

"We have already announced a series of measures to save cost including parking freighters, deferring our new aircraft deliveries and postponing capital expenditure," she said.

It has deferred the completion of its new cargo terminal in Hong Kong by 24 months to 2013 and will delay capital expenditure in airport lounge renovations in Hong Kong and London.

But Lo added that Cathay Pacific had recently revamped its airport lounge in Penang and was committed to completing renovation works on its airport lounge in Kuala Lumpur by mid-2009.

"The lounge (in Kuala Lumpur International Airport) will be bigger and hopefully can accommodate our expansion plans down the line," she added, declining to provide the investment value for the lounges.

Lo said the airline had no immediate plans to scrap its fuel surcharge.

Source : Business TimesOnline
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