Cathay Pacific to gradually increase capacity after lifting of crew quarantine rules

Repeats the story of September 10 without any changes in the text

September 10 (Reuters)Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd 0293.HK said it would gradually increase flight capacity in the coming months after the Hong Kong government on Friday lifted rules requiring passenger crew to quarantine in a hotel for three days upon returning to town .

Onerous crew quarantine rules had made compiling rosters difficult and were a major impediment to the airline’s return to more normal operations.

Cathay’s passenger capacity was just 12.4% of pre-pandemic levels in July, although its cargo capacity was 51% in part because cargo crews were no longer required to quarantine.

Before passenger crew rules were lifted, Cathay forecast it would reach 25% of pre-pandemic capacity by the end of the year.

Cathay said it would continue to add return flights as quickly as possible, but it would take time to rebuild capacity as it involves a significant amount of crew training and the reactivation of stored aircraft.

“This, combined with other operational complexities, means that capacity can only be increased incrementally over a period of months,” the airline said in a statement on Saturday that did not provide an update on the ability.

Cathay said it plans to hire an additional 4,000 people to meet operational needs over the next 18 to 24 months as travel rebounds, after cutting more than 6,000 jobs during the pandemic.

Pilot attrition has been higher than normal due to onerous quarantine requirements, combined with permanent pay cuts of up to 58%.

The Hong Kong government said on Friday that crew members should always remain isolated in their hotel rooms during out-of-town layovers.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney)

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