Cathay Pacific cancels flights ahead of Lunar New Year

(PHOTO: Shutterstock) Kong’s Cathay Pacific said it has cancelled multiple flights ahead of the Lunar New Year in February to deal with pilot shortages and other problems facing the airline. Recently the union representing aircrews for the airline called for a government inquiry into the airline in light of the cancellations.

Cathay said in a statement that it had cancelled an average of 12 flights (or around six flight pairs) a day through January and February in total. All planned cancellations have now been made and affected customers have been contacted with alternative arrangements. Customers can also review their flight details through the Manage Booking function on the Cathay Pacific website and mobile app, the airline said.

Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer Alex McGowan said: “I would like to extend a sincere apology to our customers affected by recent travel disruptions. Over the Christmas and New Year period, we underestimated the number of reserve pilots we would need. Our people worked round the clock to minimise the impact and in particular I would like to thank our crew operations team, airport team, and pilots for their enormous efforts during this period.

“Given our January pilot rosters were already set in mid-December, the lack of adequate reserve levels persisted into January. In order to stabilise the current operation, we needed to cancel further flights across the first two weeks of January. Cancellations peaked at 27 flights (or 14 flight pairs) on 7 January and will be fewer over subsequent weeks.  We particularly regret the need to cancel a number of these flights at short notice. We understand this is extremely troublesome for our customers and are very sorry for the inconvenience caused. In order to assure our customers that similar last-minute disruptions will not occur, we have also cancelled further flights until the end of February – while ensuring all customers booked to fly during the Chinese New Year peak travel period can travel as planned. We have worked hard to minimise the impact. Over 96% of customers affected between 1 January and 29 February have been given alternate flight options within 24 hours of their original departure time, while 93% have been protected onto other Cathay Pacific services, with the remaining protected onto our airline partners,” McGowan said. “The disruption of this scale is far below the standard our customers have a right to expect, and far below the standard to which we hold ourselves. I am leading a task force to ensure we identify and resolve the underlying issues. We will ensure that we improve as a result and can deliver the high-quality services and reliability Hong Kong deserves.”


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