Coronavirus: Cathay Pacific gets $5bn state-backed bailout

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Cathay Pacific has said it will get a HK$39bn (£4bn; $5bn) Hong Kong government-backed bailout, as it struggles in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the restructuring plan the company said it will also implement another round of executive pay cuts.

Cathay’s shares were suspended earlier today before the announcement.

It comes as airlines around the world are struggling to survive due to global travel restrictions.

Cathay has grounded most of its flights due to coronavirus-related travel curbs. It has been flying only cargo and a cut back passenger schedule to major destinations such as Beijing, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Vancouver.

“Cathay Pacific has explored available options and believes that a recapitalisation is required to ensure it has sufficient liquidity to weather this current crisis,” the company said in a statement to the city’s stock exchange.

The carrier has furloughed some pilots at overseas bases and cut cabin crew roles in the US and Canada since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but has not announced major permanent job cuts.

Last month the company announced a HK$4.5bn loss at its airlines Cathay and Dragon during the January to April period and warned of a “very bleak” outlook.

The airline also sold six Boeing 777-300ER jets and associated equipment for more than $700m (£551m) in March.

Shares in Cathay and major shareholders Swire Pacific and Air China halted trading on Tuesday morning pending an announcement.

Swire has a 45% stake in Cathay, while Air China owns 30%.

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