News in brief:
Cathay drops seven international routes including London Gatwick
An internal memo seen by the South China Morning Post confirms that Cathay Pacific will permanently axe seven long-haul routes, amongst them London Gatwick and Dublin.
Cathay expects to operate less than 25% of its 2019 capacity in the first half of 2021 and no more than 50% across the entire year.
Cathay’s situation is even more dire due to a difficult 2019. Whilst other airlines saw record traffic, Cathay Pacific was already dealing with dampened demand due to the ongoing Hong Kong democracy protests. Inbound international traffic had already collapsed by 46% this time last year compared to 2018.
The following routes will be permanently dropped:
- Washington DC
The loss of the Maldives removes an option for a two-centre Avios-funded holiday, whilst the loss of Dublin and Brussels removes two low-tax options for Avios flights to Hong Kong.
According to the memo, all the axed routes were losing money.
easyJet sells its Stansted slot portfolio to Ryanair
As we covered in the Summer, easyJet has decided to withdraw from Stansted airport in favour of continued growth at London Gatwick.
There will still be some services to the airport but these will be operated by aircraft and crew based elsewhere.
easyJet has confirmed that Ryanair has purchased 312 of its weekly slots at the airport. As each flight requires two slots, this equates to 22 new Ryanair services per day.
Ryanair will not have paid a huge amount for the slots, as Stansted is not full. It could have let easyJet surrender the slots and then take its chances with a request to pick them up, but paying cash guarantees that the better timed ones do not go elsewhere.
Based on adding together 2019 numbers, Ryanair will now carry 84% of all passengers from Stansted. This is a little inflated, however, as not all easyJet traffic will cease. Jet2 will now become the second largest operator at the airport.
It looks like US airline JetBlue will also be arriving at Stansted soon. More on this tomorrow.