Cathay shuts three Hong Kong lounges as virus cuts capacity

February 14, 2020
Cathay Pacific knows business
Closed: Cathay's The Deck lounge.

Cathay Pacific is closing three lounges in Hong Kong International Airport from February 17 after slashing capacity by 30 percent because of the coronavirus.

The capacity cut across the Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon networks will see The Pier First Class, the Deck and The Bridge lounges temporarily closed.

Passengers are being redirected to The Wing first and business class lounges and The Pier business lounge.

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There will also be changes to food service at HKIA, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport.

This will see individually packed food replace buffet options, supplemented by made-to-order hot food from the noodle bar.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers and appreciate their understanding,’’ the airline said.

Cathay had already been suffering because of the political unrest in Hong Kong and the coronavirus could not have come at a worse time.

It has reduced Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights to mainland China by 90 percent and the airline’s international services are being affected by the fall in demand as well as restrictions by countries such as the Philippines and Italy.

Worldwide infections of COVID-19, including clinically diagnosed cases, have now topped 64,000 after more than 5,000 additional cases were recorded in China.

The death toll is approaching 1400 and there are almost 600 cases outside of China in 25 countries.

Nor is there any idea about when the outbreak will subside.

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control, Robert Redfield,  told CNN that the virus would probably persist beyond this season and this year and could find a foothold.

Research centers around the world are working on a vaccine but The World Health Organization has said this could take up to 18 months.

“The containment phase is really to give us more time,’’ he said. “This virus will become a community virus at some point in time, this year or next year.”