LONDON – Cathay Pacific said that the last month of May was ‘relatively positive’ as the carrier experienced crew eases.
Frosti Lau, General Manager Cargo Service Delivery at Cathay said that the number of transpacific freighter flights had gone up in May, from 9 to 15 flights per week, with an additional service to Europe as well.
With the eventual resumption of passenger flights, Cathay’s network will also further add capacity to its operations.
“It’s been a relatively positive month for Cathay Pacific. Across the airline, colleagues are working to rebuild our schedule and network, both for our freighter and passenger services, following the Hong Kong SAR Government’s decision to adjust quarantine restrictions on flight crew,” Lau said.
The government of Hong Kong has eased COVID restrictions for locally-based aircrew on cargo flights and reduced the mandatory isolation period form 7 to 3 days for aircrew who were flying back on passenger flights.
“We are actively adding back as many freighter services as possible,” he added. “There will also be extra capacity drip-feeding in from the passenger fleet as services start to reactivate over the course of the year.”
Lau has noted that these flights include daily flights to London Heathrow from early June, and more flights to the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand.
Lau has also added that just because the restrictions have been eased up, challenges will remain. These challenges will eventually become a bottleneck on the recovery of the entire supply chain.
“The lockdowns are starting to ease in Shanghai, but there has been an impact on both manufacturing output and the supply chain,” he added.
“Closer to home, there have been more tests for our innovation and agility. We are taking a closer look at the multi-modal trial that saw cargo from Dongguan transported to Hong Kong International Airport’s temporary intermodal cargo ferry pier by boat, which helped keep some cargo moving during the embargo, together with efforts from the Hong Kong SAR Government to facilitate more cross-border trucking between the Greater Bay Area and Hong Kong,” Lau further said.
“Having these multi-modal options in play for the future will be very helpful.”
Mr. Lau said that the general recovery of the airlines depends on how they take control of the situation.
For Cathay Cargo, Lau said that the role of Cathay is to distribute a significant amount of vaccines and medical equipment from Australia to South East Asia via Hong Kong.
“This was a good test of our Vaccine Solution and a clear demonstration of the reassurance provided by our CEIV Pharma accreditation both on board and at the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal,” Lau said, adding that Cathay has also received its recertification earlier this year for CEIV Fresh.
Mr. Lau has a very good point when it comes to the general recovery.
As many airlines were on the brink of bankruptcy, many chose to help the fight against the virus by transporting medical supplies such as masks, vaccines, and many other supplies.
A lot of innovation does in fact happen when airlines have nothing to lose.
The eased restrictions at their home base also makes sure that the airline is able to offer more freight service, as now there would be more pilots available to operate the cargo flights.