Cathay Pacific warns of historic $1.28 billion loss

The company said 16 Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon planes would not re-enter service before the summer of 2021, causing an estimated HK$2.4 billion loss.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong flag carrier, Cathay Pacific on Friday said that it expected to make a loss of HK$9.9 billion ($1.28 billion) in the first six months of 2020, the largest in the airline’s history.

In a profit warning, Cathay said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had caused the loss, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

Cathay reported the most significant loss in the company’s reporting of a six-month or full-year period from a HK$1.3 billion net profit in the same time last year.

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Its previous most significant loss was in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis, when it lost HK$8.6 billion.

The company said 16 Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon planes would not re-enter service before the summer of 2021, causing an estimated HK$2.4 billion loss.

It is the first time the airline has given an estimate of how many fewer aircraft it would require to operate its optimal schedule post-pandemic, providing a better indication of company size and how many staff it would ultimately need.

The airline has been losing up to HK$3 billion a month since February as the pandemic crippled the aviation industry worldwide.

In June, Cathay continued to carry less than 1 per cent of its average passenger volume, handling 900 customers a day, a far cry from the 100,000 on average, the SCMP reported.

It operated less than 4 per cent of its regular schedule.

The airline expected to unveil its half-year 2020 results on August 12.

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