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    Cathay Pacific exploring all options to ensure survival

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    Hong Kong: Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific on Thursday said it was "exploring all options" to ensure the airline group survives the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Preserving cash and cutting spending were its biggest priorities, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper quoted the carrier as saying in a statement, as it reported a 90 per cent year-on-year drop in passenger volume for March.

    Hong Kong's flagship airline group said it saw the economic impact of the global pandemic intensifying, making a recovery timeline "impossible to predict", with no improvement in pre-booked travel trends.

    Cathay warned it expected its average daily passenger numbers to remain below 1,000 throughout April, with the airline carrying just 302 customers in a day earlier this week.

    "We are exploring all options to ensure that the Cathay Pacific Group rides out this current storm, and is able to compete vigorously and to help Hong Kong recover when we emerge from this crisis," the SCMP quoted Ronald Lam Siu-por, the airline's chief customer and commercial officer, as saying in the statement.

    In March, the airline slashed its flight schedules by two-thirds, triggered by the collapse in global travel.

    For its business, demand fell 84.3 per cent, outstripping its 73.2 per cent cut in capacity, amid the backdrop of the worsening global pandemic.

    Cathay said that it would operate just 3 per cent of its planned flight schedule in April, reports the SCMP newspaper.

    The airline carried 311,128 passengers last month, down from 4.32 million in the same month last year.

    In the first three months of 2020, the airline carried 52 per cent fewer customers across the comparable period in 2019.

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