China Eastern Airlines cut 16 per cent of its flights for May, following a 14 per cent reduction of its April schedule. This compared with a 45 per cent reduction in weekly flights by Cathay Pacific Airways. The Hong Kong-based carrier experienced a 66 per cent fall in passenger numbers in April, and it said bookings for May were no better.
China Eastern carried 744,010 passengers in April, down 30 per cent on the same month last year, and its average passenger occupancy level fell to just 20 per cent. Over the first quarter of 2003, it made a net loss of Yn171m. Its rival Shanghai Airlines said profits would drop in the first half of 2003 because of Sars and higher jet-fuel costs.
All Nippon Airways halved the number of its return Narita-Beijing flights to one a day between May 8 and June 1. It also suspended services between Osaka and Beijing until May 20 and between Narita and Taipei until May 31. Swiss suspended two of its five weekly flights between Zurich and Beijing and reduced its services to Hong Kong from seven flights to three.