Cathay Pacific to add more cargo flights as restrictions ease

Photo: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has welcomed the Hong Kong government’s easing of crew quarantine rules and said the adjustments will allow it to expand its cargo operations.

The new rules mean that vaccinated cargo crew will no longer be required to quarantine on returning flights but will be subject to a 14 day medical surveillance period, regular testing and will need to stay in a closed-loop system for any overnight stays.

The airline has yet to reveal detail of how it will expand cargo activities following the easing of restrictions, however, George Edmunds, general manager cargo commercial, said: “We welcome the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government’s adjustments to the crew quarantine and medical surveillance requirements as of May 1.

“This will allow us to progressively resume more cargo flights from May onwards, and we will therefore be making adjustments to our schedule in the coming weeks.”

At the start of the year, the carrier grounded its entire long-haul cargo network but has been gradually adding capacity back in.

“At network level, our March capacity was 48% above January’s, with a significant increase in regional freighter flights, especially to India and North East Asia,” said Edmunds.

“We have also restored freighter capacity to South West Pacific and, in mid-April, operated our first freighter to Europe since the end of December.”

However, he added that the events in the first quarter of the year highlighted the fragility of supply chains.

“The lockdowns in Shanghai continue to be an issue and have had a significant impact on demand with transport constrained and manufacturing output reduced.

“We have mounted additional services to other ports in Mainland China to alleviate this, and we continue to monitor the situation.”

Constraints on the movement of cross-border trucks has limited the inflow from the Greater Bay Area to Hong Kong, he added.

“While this issue remains, our Hong Kong agents, like ourselves, have been able to adapt by greater use of sea feeders to ports in Hong Kong; unloading cargo from ship to truck for transfer to the airport.”

Cathay Pacific freighters to return to Europe in April

Cathay Pacific outlines “substantial” freighter flight cuts in Q1

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]