Cathay Pacific sending planes to Australia for storage during pandemic

Staring straight ahead at a big white jet. from the front. Cathay Pacific is storing planes in sunny climates.

Cathay Pacific Airways (OTCUS: CPCAY) is sending part of its fleet overseas to ride out the coronavirus pandemic in drier locations where weather conditions are more forgiving than in humid Hong Kong.

About one-third of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon aircraft will be sent to locations with drier conditions in the coming months to help keep them in optimal condition, Ronald Lam, chief customer and commercial officer, said in the August edition of the company’s cargo newsletter.

Cathay Dragon is the Cathay Group’s regional airline. The two airlines are operating at about 10% of capacity in August because of weak travel demand, global border restrictions and tighter quarantine measures for people arriving in Hong Kong in an effort to contain an outbreak in the city.

Cathay aircraft are currently parked at Hong Kong International Airport in remote bays, on taxiways and in other available areas, a spokesperson told FreightWaves.

“We will be using Alice Springs in Australia for the first batch of aircraft and are in discussions with facilities in other suitable locations,” the company representative said in an email.

Alice Springs is a remote desert area in Australia’s northern territory, halfway between Darwin and Adelaide.  Desert locations are popular places for keeping mothballed aircraft. 

The airline’s storage schedule is subject to change if travel demand picks up. The planes being stored come from different fleets and will be parked outside of Hong Kong for different durations. 

Earlier this year, Lufthansa Airlines flew decommissioned Airbus plans to Teruel, Spain, because of the sunny conditions there. 

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