Cathay Pacific Cargo will not operate any freighter flights to Europe or the South West Pacific in the first quarter due to quarantine restrictions caused by the Omicron variant.

The airline first announced it would have to consolidate its long-haul freighter and cargo-only passenger network on 28 December in response to the Government of Hong Kong’s requirement that locally based air cargo crew members would have to quarantine at designated hotels for three days after arrival.

On 30 December, Cathay Pacific said due to the quarantine restrictions, all long-haul freighter and cargo-only flights on Transpacific, European and South West Pacific routes, and to Riyadh and Dubai would be suspended until 6 January.

Between January and March, Cathay Pacific will substantially cut long-haul capacity, operating no freighter flights to Europe or the South West Pacific.

If quarantine requirements do not change, Cathay Pacific plans to operate seven Transpacific flights a week, at least 14 a week to the Chinese Mainland, 17 to the Middle East and India, at least 11 a week to North East Asia and seven a week to South East Asia.

In a statement, the airline says: “We are exploring alternative operating modes to increase long-haul freighter capacity beyond this base schedule, however, such capacity is likely to be limited and will take time to implement.”

Regional cargo-only passenger flights will operate as scheduled but will be suspended to the Americas in January and only a skeleton schedule will be operated to Europe and the South West Pacific.