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The Hong Kong authorities blamed Cathay Pacific, town’s flagship airline, for the unfold of Omicron to a minimum of 50 folks within the metropolis final month. Two crew members allegedly breached their quarantine and transmitted the extremely transmissible variant throughout town whereas out procuring or visiting with mates.
Infection circulate charts have been printed because the variety of instances climbed, and the government started inquiries and threatened authorized motion due to the rising numbers. State media and pro-Beijing figures referred to as for retribution.
The airline had simply come off a government ban on flying key worldwide routes, a punishment for carrying Covid-positive passengers. Around the identical time, the ban was imposed in late December; quarantine guidelines have been tightened after a pilot-tested optimistic, after which once more simply days later after three crew additionally did, after which once more after the newest incidents.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific continues to be hampered by government journey restrictions, each for its passengers and its crews, a difficulty that has these days resurfaced.
Cathay CEO Augustus Tang issued an replace on Monday saying that the restrictions have an effect on each the provider’s passenger and profitable cargo companies.
“In late December and then early January, the Hong Kong SAR Government further tightened aircrew quarantine requirements and travel restrictions,” Tang mentioned in a press release. “These measures will have a significant impact on our passenger and cargo flight capacity.”
Tang estimates that this month’s passenger capability is roughly 2% of its pre-pandemic capability, whereas cargo capability is round 20%.
A government exemption granted to Cathay Pacific flight crews to keep away from quarantine and as a substitute isolate at house was not too long ago revoked by the Hong Kong government. The size of the quarantine has additionally been elevated. As a results of the brand new coverage, freight flights have been halted for one week in the direction of December.
On high of all that, because of an rising variety of instances of the omicron variant being reported, Hong Kong’s authorities quickly restricted air journey out of eight international locations late final month. Travellers from 150 international locations and territories have been banned from getting into Hong Kong International Airport for transit functions per week later.
“This has to be put under full investigation, and we will take legal action once we have the full evidence of what wrong they went into,” Hong Kong’s chief government, Carrie Lam, mentioned after calling the airline as “a very big noncompliance case”.
It is an open query whether or not Cathay Pacific is in extreme hassle and if it is going to survive. There is little that Cathay Pacific can do about COVID-19 and the related government restrictions; due to this fact, the airline is solely reliant on Hong Kong’s government — in addition to the government of mainland China.
When worldwide journey plummeted in 2020 and 2021, your entire aviation business suffered, however Cathay was significantly weak because it had no home market to fall again on.
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