|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||16th April 2003|
Cathay Pacific today announced that its all-cargo freighter schedule has been unaffected by the disruptions in travel patterns resulting from the conflict in the Middle East and the outbreak of atypical pneumonia.
Cathay Pacific Cargo is currently operating a full freighter schedule world-wide and maintaining passenger flights across its whole network except to Kuala Lumpur. Passenger flights to the Malaysian capital and Penang were suspended following that country's decision to impose stringent visa requirements on Hong Kong visitors. However, freighter services to Penang continue as normal.
In response to the recent significant downturn in air travel to and from Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific has reduced its normal passenger schedule by 42%. The cancellation of passenger flights has had little impact on cargo, however, and freight carried in the belly-holds of passenger flights is still a major operation. Before any passenger flight is cancelled the cargo contribution of that flight is taken into full consideration.
The airline is striving to meet the needs of the cargo community during this difficult time, particularly in Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific's loss of cargo capacity due to the cancellation of passenger flights has been limited to around 15%. There is currently no cargo backlog at terminal operators and there have been no reports of cargo disruption at Hong Kong International Airport.
In addition, in May Cathay Pacific is bringing back into service the freighter aircraft that was parked after the post-911 downturn. This will help to compensate for any loss of cargo capacity resulting from the cancellation of passenger flights.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Kenny Tang said: "Even though the current difficult situation has caused Cathay Pacific to take a number of contingency measures, including cuts in scheduled passenger services, the airline is firmly committed to maintaining its network and providing scheduled cargo services. We will continue to work closely with the Hong Kong community and the cargo trade to overcome the current challenges."
Mr Tang said the cargo business has now entered the second quarter which, traditionally, is a quieter season. "We expect any impact should be manageable but we will keep monitoring the situation and make adjustments accordingly," he said.
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