Cathay Pacific adjusts flights to ensure smooth operations during Lunar New Year

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Amid preparations for the upcoming Lunar New Year travel peak, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, has announced a temporary reduction in its flight schedule. The airline aims to mitigate last-minute cancellations and ensure a smooth travel experience for passengers during this busy period.

According to a statement released by Cathay Pacific, the airline will consolidate approximately six flight pairs per day for the remainder of January and February. This strategic adjustment primarily focuses on routes with multiple daily frequencies, allowing the airline to maintain operational stability while accommodating the expected surge in travel demand.

Ronald Lam, the CEO of Cathay Pacific, emphasized the airline’s commitment to providing reliable services during the Lunar New Year period. “We have taken measures to ensure Cathay Pacific’s flights will operate normally for the coming Chinese New Year travel peak,” Lam stated in the announcement. “Hong Kong people traveling out and visitors coming to Hong Kong can be reassured that their travel plans will proceed as scheduled.”

The decision to modify the flight schedule follows recent disruptions experienced by the airline during the Christmas travel season. In late December and on New Year’s Day, Cathay Pacific had to cancel numerous flights due to higher-than-anticipated pilot absences attributed to seasonal illness. The affected routes included flights between Hong Kong and various destinations such as Japan, mainland China, Singapore, Australia, and South Korea.

Learning from the operational challenges faced during the Christmas period, Cathay Pacific aims to provide customers with more reliable flight options in a measured manner. The airline has assured affected passengers that they will be contacted individually and offered alternative flight arrangements or refunds. This proactive approach seeks to minimize the impact on travelers and uphold service standards during this critical period.

The upcoming Lunar New Year marks a significant milestone for Hong Kong, as it is the first major holiday since the lifting of all COVID-19 travel restrictions. With the aviation industry gradually returning to normalcy, the Transport and Logistics Bureau has expressed its concerns regarding Cathay Pacific’s flight arrangements. The bureau has urged the airline to prioritize customer communication and minimize disruptions, especially during the busy travel season.

Cathay Pacific has faced significant challenges due to the prolonged impact of the pandemic, including workforce reductions and operational adjustments. Despite posting its first half-year profit since 2020, the airline continues to operate at less than 60% of its pre-pandemic passenger capacity. The recent flight cancellations have underscored the ongoing challenges faced by the airline, including pilot shortages that have persisted despite efforts to recruit additional pilots.

As Cathay Pacific navigates the complexities of post-pandemic recovery, the airline remains focused on ensuring a reliable and seamless travel experience for its passengers. With the Lunar New Year travel peak approaching, the airline’s proactive measures aim to instill confidence among travelers and uphold its commitment to operational excellence.

(Source: Hillary Leung | HKFP | CNA)

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