Cathay Cargo to add more preighters ahead of peak season crunch

By Damian Brett

Cathay Pacific Cargo has revealed plans to remove the seats from two more of its aircraft as it predicts an industry-wide capacity shortfall for the peak season.

The Hong Kong-headquartered carrier said that while its passenger network is slowly growing, it will offer around 30% of its normal capacity in the fourth quarter, which “leaves a shortfall in vital belly space against anticipated demand for the peak season”.

Meanwhile, the airline warned of ongoing supply chain disruption as a result of first the Suez Canal blockage and then the Covid-19 outbreak in the Guangdong Province, which led to strict quarantine and testing measures on workers at ports and in particular on the truck drivers servicing those ports across the Greater Bay Area. 

The Guangdong outbreak led to greater disruption to ocean shipping operations than the Suez incident.

“While the worst of the port disruption is over, the ripples in the supply chain are likely to be felt for quite a while, and the question of capacity may again come to the fore with more eyes turning to air,” said general manager of cargo commercial George Edmunds.

To address these concerns, the airline plans to convert two more of our Boeing 777 passenger aircraft into cargo-only preighters, by removing seats from the economy cabins.

“These additional aircraft will support our post and general cargo shipments around the Asian region,” said Edmunds.

“From the outset of the pandemic we have always sought to keep cargo flying, responding quickly to demand by adding cargo-only passenger flights, as well as finding ways to maximise usage of our freighters.

“Some of the quarantine restrictions were lifted for our vaccinated pilots in April and throughout this time our crew really delivered despite the pressures.”

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