Cathay shows confidence in the Middle East

Freighter links to ME unchanged as overall capacity slips by 11%.
The Middle East and India are the only regions where Cathay Pacific has elected not to cut freighter schedules.
The Middle East and India are the only regions where Cathay Pacific has elected not to cut freighter schedules.

Share

Hong Kong-based cargo giant Cathay Pacific has announced a series of measures to help combat the downturn, with turnover in the first quarter of 2009 22.4% lower than in the same period last year. Significantly, however, freighter schedules to Middle East end destinations remain unchanged.

Cathay will remove overall cargo capacity by 11% by reducing its weekly freighter frequencies to 84, from 124 during its 2008 high. The company has also decided to mothball two more B747-400BCFs, bringing the total to five, while also wetleasing one BCF to subsidiary Air Hong Kong.

A new set of cuts mean that a large selection of key passenger destinations will also suffer from downgrades or reduced frequencies. Dubai is one of the locations that will be downgraded; the emirate will now be serviced by a A330 instead of a 747.

However, the news for other Middle Eastern destinations points towards the resilience of the aviation sector in this region. The airline's Bahrain/Riyadh service will be given three more fights, making it a daily frequency from August onwards. 

"We anticipate an extremely challenging year in 2009 and a toxic combination of low fares, a big drop in premium travel, weak cargo loads, poor yields and a negative currency impact is making it more important than ever to preserve cash," said Cathay CEO Tony Tyler.

Most Popular