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Cathay Pacific increases flights in response to easing of Hong Kong quarantine rules

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has said it would gradually increase flying capacity following the announcement that the three-day quarantine requirement for passenger crew will be lifted. The Hong Kong government specified that crew members on layovers outside the city would have to remain isolated in hotel rooms.

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Onerous crew quarantine rules made rostering difficult and had prevented the airline from returning to more normal operations. Despite no longer requiring cargo crews to quarantine, Cathay’s passenger capacity in July was just 12.4 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

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While Cathay said it would resume flights as quickly as possible, regaining capacity would be delayed due to significant crew training and the reactivation of stored aircraft. A high level of attrition has been observed among pilots as a result of onerous quarantine requirements and 58 percent permanent pay cuts.

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It is predicted that Cathay would reach 25 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity by the end of the year before the passenger crew rules were lifted. Over the next 18 to 24 months, Cathay will hire 4,000 new staff to fill operational needs, having cut more than 6,000 jobs during the pandemic.