One of the world’s biggest air cargo carriers has said it is ready to cut capacity or cancel flights should the US-China trade war dent demand, with Washington’s tariff increase on US$200 billion of Chinese goods due to kick in on Friday. But Cathay Pacific Airways CEO Rupert Hogg said the tit-for-tat battle had not been “catastrophic” for the company’s freight arm, which generates a quarter of its revenue. In an interview on the sidelines of a company rebrand on Thursday, Hogg said cargo volume was still above 2017’s tonnage. “It is definitely the case that this year has been lower than last year and the numbers sort of speak for themselves,” the Cathay Pacific chief said, before adding that “demand is down but it’s not hugely down or catastrophic”. China threatened countermeasures in response to US President Donald Trump announcing a hike in tariffs last Sunday on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. The hike stemmed from China reportedly backtracking on almost all aspects of a draft trade deal both sides were working on. For Cathay, Hogg said, the impact of the hike was unclear. “We just don’t know what is going to happen. It’s too early to say,” he said. Almost half of the company’s cargo goes on passenger aircraft, offering it scope to adjust. “For our freighters we can flex up and down really quickly, cancel or combine services,” Hogg said, noting again it was a hypothetical consideration. Now that the airline is making a small profit, the company has had a no-expense-spared rebrand, including a new slogan. Chief quits at Hong Kong Airlines as new CEO and CFO check in Cathay said it was keen to look to the future, ditching its “Life well travelled” slogan that came from a loss-making past marred by it losing data on 9.4 million customers, blunders like a fire sale of first- and business-class airfares in January and putting the squeeze on passengers in economy. Hogg said the company had to change because customers were not as loyal to brands as they once were. “Now is the right time to take the initiative, lead in this new world,” Hogg said of the new slogan “Move beyond”. Customers have increasingly been left disappointed by a decline in the company’s standards, particularly changes to on-board food, and catering in its lounges at Hong Kong airport. Christopher Lo, 35, a top-tier Marco Polo Club (MPC) member, said the message the company was trying to send should be clearer. “Cathay Pacific needs to make consistent its premium standard, the wow factor,” he said, citing inconsistent service standards from cabin crew. Adam Yi, 22, a second-tier MPC member who flies 30 times a year on the airline, mostly long-haul, said the carrier did not need to rebrand. “They just need to bring back the usual service,” he said. The airline’s customer service chief Simon Large dismissed complaints about the company’s new business-class dining and the criticisms over food in its lounges. He said people at a lunch for the company’s top customers on Wednesday universally praised the expansion of the airline’s network of non-stop routes, new aircraft and seats, in-flight Wi-fi and upgraded business-class food. “There are always things we can do better and this is what this [rebrand] is about, and taking it to another level,” Large said.