Cathay Pacific to resume 90% of usual schedule in August

Hong Kong airline HONG KONG (AP) - Cathay Pacific Airways said Tuesday it will resume 90 percent of its flight schedule by August and restore all of its services in September as it works to recover from the traffic slowdown caused by the SARS crisis. 

Cathay saw passenger traffic drop by 75 percent in May, compared with figures from a year earlier, and has been bleeding cash as it canceled thousands of flights, although the outlook for airlines has improved as Hong Kong emerges from the shadow of SARS. 

Even as it gradually adds flights, Cathay says it will continue to lose money in the near future and has not predicted when it can return to profitability. 

The World Health Organization removed Hong Kong from its list of infected areas on Monday, a month after lifting an advisory against travel to the territory that suffered 1,755 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome and 296 deaths. 

Tourism officials said the number of arrivals had jumped more than 70 percent in June, compared with the previous month, but officials have warned that a full travel rebound could take time. 

Cathay spokeswoman Lisa Wong said Tuesday that the airline will reinstate 90 percent of its flights by August, with the remaining 10 percent to relaunch by the end of September. 

Cathay announced earlier it would increase its weekly flights from 530 to 700 by July, bringing the airline back to 71 percent of its original schedule. - AP 

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