Cathay Pacific to cancel some passenger flights in January amid tougher curbs

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FILE PHOTO: Sign of Cathay Pacific is seen at its headquarters Cathay City in Hong Kong

-Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd will cancel some passenger flights in January because of operational and travel curbs at a time when the Asian financial centre has tightened quarantine requirements, the airline said on Wednesday.

“The new consolidated schedule will result in several flight cancellations,” the company said in a website notice, without giving details.

The carrier declined to comment on the routes involved, but said it would immediately reach out to all affected customers and try to make alternative flight arrangements for them.

A travel industry source who was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter told Reuters the cancellations included many long-haul flights to and from Australia, North America and Europe.

Cathay’s Australian website said it would only fly to Sydney from Hong Kong in January, with no flights to Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, which had been destinations in December.

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For December, Cathay planned to fly no more than 12% of its pre-pandemic passenger schedule, having cancelled many flights because it could not find enough crew members to volunteer for tough rosters involving five weeks locked in hotel rooms.

Hong Kong has tightened travel rules since the Omicron coronavirus variant emerged, and arriving passengers from many countries are limited to citizens and residents who are now subject to three weeks of managed quarantine even if fully vaccinated.

The Hong Kong government has a “zero-COVID” policy in line with mainland China as it hopes to persuade Beijing to allow cross-border travel.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed in SydneyEditing by Gerry Doyle and Mark Potter)