Cathay Pacific has seen its passenger traffic collapse to as little as 0.6 per cent of its normal 100,000 daily passenger volume, the airline has told staff, as it increased its flight reductions to 97 per cent in April. Hong Kong’s flagship airline told staff in a memo it would make even more cuts to passenger flights by reducing its long-haul flights to two flights a week from three. The airline’s near 200-strong passenger fleet had been “virtually grounded” too, the company said. Cathay cited an incident when it carried only 582 customers on one day this week, with a load factor of 18.3 per cent. The airline would normally carry 100,000 a day, representing a drop of 99.4 per cent. Augustus Tang Kin-wing, the CEO, and Patrick Healy, the chairman, said they would take a 30 per cent pay cut from April through December, while executive directors would take a 25 per cent cut. “A timeline for a recovery in our customer demand still remains impossible to predict,” Tang said in the memo. Cathay has said more staff were being furloughed and stood down, taking unpaid leave in affected regions it serviced where flights have been scaled back or stopped outright. The bulk of the airline group’s 32,000 staff took up the first round of unpaid leave of three weeks. Tang said it was capitalising on “strong cargo demand” operating charter flights and using passenger aircraft throughout April, but the passenger bellyhold cargo capacity cut meant its revenues on freight “are still well below last year”. Across the region, the airline pledged to maintain three weekly flights to 11 destinations, including Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore, and Delhi. Long-haul flights to London Heathrow, Vancouver, Sydney, and Los Angeles, would continue at a scaled back rate of two flights a week. Across the four routes, Cathay would normally run about 100 flights a week, including five times a day to Heathrow. On Friday, American Airlines said it would resume its Hong Kong flights in phases, with July 7 from Dallas and late October for Los Angeles. Talks were ongoing with business partners and suppliers on reducing cash expenditure more “for the months ahead”, Tang added. Airlines globally have been hammered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The impact has prompted the industry’s body, the International Air Transport Association, to warn that with travel restrictions worldwide, it would cost airlines US$252 billion. In total, the airline industry would need a US$200 billion bailout from governments, it said. Cathay Pacific, one of Asia’s largest international airlines, operates a fleet of 236 planes. Its subsidiary HK Express has grounded all planes and stopped flying for five weeks until the end of April. In the first full month of the coronavirus crisis, Cathay’s full-service airlines made an unaudited loss of HK$2 billion in February alone. Last week, Singapore Airlines secured the largest financial package of any carrier since the outbreak. It tapped shareholders for up to US$13.3 billion, surprising some analysts with the amount raised to bolster its balance sheet. To bolster its HK$20 billion cash buffer, Cathay has raised HK$5.5 billion by selling and leasing back six Boeing 777 long-haul planes.