Hong Kong’s top airline, Cathay Pacific, suffered losses of HK$2 billion ($257 million) in February, when travel was curbed in attempts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
On top of that, the figure for Cathay’s unaudited February losses only reflected the results of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. The South China Morning Post said that, once the losses from the company’s budget line HK Express Airways is accounted for, the total losses of Cathay will pile up higher.
Last week, Cathay Pacific reported profits of HK$344 million for the second half of 2019, but said its first-half performance will be significantly lower. Overall, for the full year 2019, Cathay scored HK$107 billion in revenues and HK$1.7 billion in profits – a decline from 2018 due to the ongoing protests in the city.
In March, Cathay planned to operate at 65% capacity, though the statement came before travel for incomers was restricted, as the rest of the world witnessed increasing cases of COVID-19.
The company said in a statement, “The scale of the challenge we are currently facing is unprecedented and no one can predict when conditions will improve. Our advance passenger bookings show no clear signs of recovery at this stage, and the gap in bookings compared to 2019 continues to widen.”