Cathay Pacific to operate less than 50% of pre-pandemic capacity in 2021

Cathay Pacific to operate less than 50% of pre-pandemic capacity in 2021
Aircraft fleet parked on taxiway of Hong Kong International Airport. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 20 October 2020

Cathay Pacific to operate less than 50% of pre-pandemic capacity in 2021

Cathay Pacific to operate less than 50% of pre-pandemic capacity in 2021
  • The airline said it planned to operate around 10 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity for the remainder of 2020

SYDNEY: Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said on Monday it expects to operate less than 50 percent of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity in 2021 as it nears completion of a strategic review that could lead to major job losses.

The airline said it planned to operate around 10 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity for the remainder of 2020, with most borders remaining closed.

The airline industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread. Many of the curbs still remain in place.

“Among the multiple scenarios studied, this one is already the most optimistic that we can responsibly adopt at this moment,” Cathay said in the release of its monthly traffic figures to the stock exchange.

The airline said it assumed it would be operating well below 25 percent of pre-pandemic capacity in the first half of 2021 but that there would be a recovery in the second half if vaccines currently under development proved effective and are widely adopted in its key markets by the middle of 2021.

In September, the airline’s passenger numbers fell by 98.1 percent compared with a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 36.6 percent.

Cathay had in June said it was reviewing its strategy in light of the travel downturn, with “tough decisions” to be announced during the fourth quarter.

The South China Morning Post reported on Monday the Cathay board was expected to back a restructuring plan this week that included staff redundancies and pay cuts, citing unnamed sources.

In response, Cathay told Reuters it declined to comment on speculation.

Singapore Airlines Ltd. has announced plans to cut around 20 percent of positions, while Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. has said it will cut nearly 30 percent of its pre-pandemic staff, but Cathay has so far refrained from major job cuts.

Cathay has sent around 40 percent of its passenger fleet to less humid locations outside Hong Kong for storage.


Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs
Updated 17 January 2021

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs
  • Palm oil constitutes 30 percent of the global oils and fats production

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is taking legal action at the global trade watchdog against the EU and member states France and Lithuania for restricting palm oil-based biofuels, the government said.

The world’s second largest palm oil producer, which has called a EU renewable-energy directive “discriminatory action,” is seeking consultations under the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry said in a statement.

Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the EU proceeded with implementing the directive without considering Malaysia’s commitment and views, even after Malaysia gave feedback and sent economic and technical missions to Europe.

The EU directive “will mean the use of palm oil as biofuel in the EU cannot be taken into account in the calculation of renewable energy targets and in turn create undue trade restrictions to the country’s palm oil industry,” he said in the statement.

The ministry filed the WTO request with cooperation from the Attorney General’s Chambers and the International Trade and Industry Ministry, taking action it had warned of in July against EU Renewable Energy Directive II.

Malaysia will act as a third party in a separate WTO case lodged by neighboring Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, as a sign of solidarity and support, the ministry statement said.

Indonesia and Malaysia, together account for 85 percent of the global output of palm oil. Palm oil constitutes 30 percent of the global oils and fats production, and plays a significant role in fulfilling the demand in the global oils and fats market.

It is the world’s most produced and traded edible oil, and its versatility can be seen through its use in a wide range of food and nonfood products, which led to the remarkable palm oil consumption growth.

The US imported approximately $410 million of crude palm oil from Malaysia in 2020, CNN reported.