SYDNEY, March 11 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on Wednesday it expects to report a “substantial” loss in the first half of this year as it reduces capacity due to the coronavirus outbreak, after it posted a 28% drop in 2019 earnings.
The airline posted a net profit of HK$1.69 billion ($217.55 million) in the year ended December 2019, down from a HK$2.35 billion profit in 2018.
The result was in line with an average estimate for a profit of HK$1.63 billion from 11 analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Cathay’s performance in the second half of last year was hit by widespread, sometimes violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong that led to a plunge in visitors to the Asian financial hub and the resignation of top two executives after it attracted scrutiny from China’s aviation regulator. ($1 = 7.7685 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Himani Sarkar)