Cathay Pacific has suffered consecutive annual losses for the first time in its history, as Hong Kong’s flag carrier remains under pressure from rivals in China and the Gulf.
The company, 45 per cent owned by the British conglomerate Swire and 30 per cent owned by Air China, said yesterday that it lost HK$1.26bn ($160m) in 2017.
It lost HK$575m in 2016. China’s three main state-owned carriers — Air China, China Southern and China Eastern — have made substantial aircraft orders and have been adding more direct routes to Europe, the US and Australasia, partly cutting Cathay out of its lucrative role as a conduit for China’s fast-growing outbound travel.
With Gulf airlines such as Emirates and low-cost regional rivals stepping up competition in east and south-east Asia, economy-class passenger fares have been squeezed, also hitting other legacy carriers including Singapore Airlines.