Cathay Pacific Airways has parked two Boeing 747-200 freighters and is planning to ground at least four of its 67 passenger aircraft early next year as a result of service cuts following the US attacks.

The two 747-200Fs, which were parked in a US desert in late November, were already scheduled to be parked in January, but the groundings were brought forward as traffic continued to fall. Cathay adds that some passenger aircraft are also to be parked from January, which industry sources say will number at least four passenger aircraft and include two 747-400s.

Since 11 September, the airline has reduced capacity across its network of nearly 50 destinations by suspending some routes, reducing frequencies and switching to smaller aircraft for some services.

Though certain Asian carriers, such as Asiana Airlines and Korean Air, are claiming there are signs that long-haul traffic is recovering, Cathay is not seeing a revival in fortunes. The airline is more exposed to the drop-off in long-haul business as it has no domestic traffic base, does not fly to mainland China where the market is still strong, and relies heavily on US and Japanese services, which are being hit particularly hard.

It recently reported an 18% plunge in both revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) and revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) for October. By comparison China Southern Airlines, China's largest carrier, saw traffic rise at a healthy pace in October. RPKs were up 6.8% while RTKs climbed 6%.

Source: Flight International