Cathay Pacific is staying committed to rebuilding connectivity at the Hong Kong air hub as the flagship airline welcomed the government’s agreement to extend the drawdown period of the HK$7.8 billion loan facility until 8 June 2023.
Airline chief Augustus Tang said the impact of the pandemic necessitated some very difficult decisions, including the restructuring in 2020 which included staff furloughs.
He added that through this loan facility and recapitalisation, Cathay Pacific is coming back with a ‘more efficient, more competitive and more focused business.’
“Despite the difficult operational environment, we have not had to draw down the facility over the past 12 months,” Tang said, noting that the airline is targeting to reduce operating cash burn to less than HK$0.5 billion per month for the next few months.
Hong Kong provided the bridge loan facility to Cathay Pacific as part of the HK$39 billion recapitalisation announced on 9 June 2020 to help the airline maintain its competitiveness and operations amid the industry-wide downturn due to COVID-19.
Following recent adjustments to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, the airline is progressively adding back capacity and has restarted hiring as it anticipates recovery in Hong Kong and global aviation in the next 18-24 months.