On Wednesday, Hong Kong’s flagship airline posted a 28% plunge in profit in 2019 compared to the previous year, dropping from about 2.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($301.8 million) in 2018 to almost 1.7 billion Hong Kong dollars ($217.7 million).

The last six months of 2019 wiped away what the company described as a strong performance to start the year, boosted by a three-year turnaround plan that it said was “starting to bear fruit.” The company was forced to grapple with fallout from the Hong Kong protests, which scared away tourists, damaged the city’s economy and prompted an internal and external crisis.
The carrier is now dealing with another blow as global travel slumps due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cathay has already significantly shrunk capacity in recent months, cutting all flights by 30% in February and 65% in March and April.

The company now says that more reductions are expected in May as it continues to monitor demand.

“The first half of 2020 was expected to be extremely challenging financially,” chairman Patrick Healy said in a statement. “We expect to incur a substantial loss for the first half of 2020.”

Cathay stock was up 2.7% in Hong Kong Wednesday afternoon. The airline’s shares have dropped 12.7% so far this year.

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