Hong Kong Airlines announced changes to its catering and inflight services in order to “strengthen precautionary measures” against the spread of coronavirus. The changes, which the airline indicates as temporary, include limited inflight cabin activity and adjustments to onboard services.
Starting February 19, 2020, Hong Kong Airlines will not provide its customers with a duvet/blanket or a pillow and would not provide its own magazine, except for newspapers and reading materials that are inside the seat pockets. In addition, in-flight catering will be scrapped completely: business class passengers will only receive a bottle of water, while those traveling in economy will receive a cup of water during the duration of their flight.
While the airline argues that the reduction of service during the flight would limit the exposure of coronavirus to the crew and passengers, the measures could also be a way for Hong Kong Airlines to reduce costs as much as possible. The carrier has been struggling for quite a while now, as the protests in the autonomous region have continued since March 2019. The latest coronavirus outbreak put further strain on local businesses, especially airlines located in the city – Cathay Pacific also saw dropping traffic and capacity throughout the past few months, including a plea to its employees to take unpaid leave.
Further proof that Hong Kong Airlines is trying to limit its expenses is the fact that it fired 400 staff two weeks ago, reports South China Morning Post. The company also announced that it would also temporarily close Club Autus, one of its lounges in Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) starting February 18, 2020.