Hong Kong airline cuts 10 flights a week to offset fuel price rise

(dpa) - Hong Kong's flagship airline Cathay Pacific Tuesday announced it is cutting 10 flights a week to North America to offset soaring fuel costs.

The airline, which last week posted its first loss in five years, is cutting one of its daily flights to Los Angeles and reducing the number of weekly flights to Vancouver from 17 to 14 from next month.

At the same time, the airline will add eight new flights to Australia and upgrade to bigger aircraft for 14 European flights a week as part of a policy to concentrate resources on busier routes in response to rising fuel prices.

In July, the airline cut services to Toronto by three flights a week and Vancouver by four flights a week while adding new flights to Dubai and Bahrain in the first wave of deployed routes.

"The extent of the impact fuel prices are having on our business was underlined when we announced a loss of 663 million Hong Kong dollars (84.89 million US dollars) in our interim results last week," said Cathay Pacific chief executive Tony Tyler.

"While we are reducing services on some routes, we will continue to maintain the integrity of our network, reshaping it where necessary to ensure we fly aircraft to where we can cover our costs and also make some money."

The losses announced by Cathay Pacific last week were the first since 2003 when Hong Kong's economy was decimated by the SARS outbreak which led to flights coming in and out of the former British colony virtually empty.

Cathay Pacific carried 23.5 million passengers and carried 1.6 million tons of cargo last year. The airline and its subsidiaries employs over 27,000 people worldwide.

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