Cathay Pacific plans to ship up to half its fleet to desert - Bangkok Post
Two cyclists pass a line of grounded Cathay Pacific aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport. (South China Morning Post photo)
Two cyclists pass a line of grounded Cathay Pacific aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport. (South China Morning Post photo)

Cathay Pacific Airways is studying plans to park even more aircraft abroad in long-term storage, the South China Morning Post has learned, with a recovery in air travel taking longer than anticipated.

The group, which also covers Cathay Dragon, could send as many as half of its 180 passenger aircraft to desert locations eventually, one source familiar with the matter said, but another said it could be slightly less.

A revised number of planes to be parked has yet to be finalised, but it will be larger than the third of the passenger fleet earlier planned to be sidelined, as the fallout from the global slump in air travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic sharpens.

Airlines across the world have teetered close to collapse, with borders closed and demand for air travel sapped by the disease.

“I think given what we know right now about Cathay’s fleet, they’re essentially uniquely unsuited for the current markets,” said Luya You, transport analyst at brokerage Bocom International.

“We know that widebodies make even less economical sense to fly right now when load factors remain abysmal. Therefore, it’s much more cost effective to ground than to fly.”

The vast majority of the Cathay group’s 235 planes are large widebody aircraft, which are not ideal for weak travel demand, and it does not have domestic flights to fall back on.

Domestic and short-haul flights are expected to recover quickest, according to industry predictions, as evidenced by the nearly full
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