Cathay Pacific suspends cargo flights until January 6 amid tougher virus controls

The Hong Kong airline faces a staff shortage after quarantine for flight crews returning from abroad was extended to a week

Stricter Covid-19 quarantine requirements have left Cathay Pacific without enough pilots for all its flights. AP

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airlines is suspending cargo flights for a week due to stricter Covid-19 quarantine requirements for aircrews, potentially adding to strain on global supply chains.

Long-haul flights to Europe, across the Pacific and to Riyadh and Dubai are suspended until January 6, the airline said. It promised to try to help customers “mitigate the disruption".

The airline’s workforce is stretched thin after the quarantine period for flight crews returning from abroad was extended from three days to a week.

The announcement gave no details, but the South China Morning Post said the longer quarantine would leave Cathay without enough pilots for its flights.

The airline earlier asked staff to volunteer for a “closed-loop system”, under which they would work for three-week stints with brief stopovers in Hong Kong, but too few agreed, according to news reports.

Cathay said earlier it would reduce its schedule of passenger flights in the first three months of 2022, due to staff shortages.

Updated: December 31st 2021, 12:00 PM