Cathay Pacific Offers Hong Kong Based Pilots, Cabin Crew & Airport Staff Voluntary Redundancy

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The next round of cost cutting has reached Cathay Pacific as the struggling carrier is now offering Hong Kong based pilots and cabin crew voluntary redundancy in order to shrink payroll.

The airline has recently announced the closure of more overseas crew bases and is now offering their HK based staff to take redundancies as ongoing costs cripple the carrier.

The company has put together exit packages of varying degree that employees who elect to leave the company are eligible for though it’s uncertain how long such payments would last without having new employment lined up yet.

As the South China Morning Post reported yesterday Cathay is expecting a prolonged period of losses and operations under a skeleton schedule.

Cathay Pacific is offering its Hong Kong-based pilots, cabin crew and airport staff voluntary redundancy as part of severe cost-cutting, and warning that business is not improving under the “devastating impact” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong’s struggling flag carrier informed staff on Wednesday that a forecast of “no discernible improvement” in the short to medium term had prompted the company to ask them if they would leave voluntarily. The airline said it would continue to operate a skeleton passenger flight schedule for “some considerable time”.

The voluntary redundancies are tied to the near-total collapse of the passenger flight market amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with ripple effects being felt across the group’s operations that are heavily dependent on travel demand. …

Cathay Pacific cut 5,900 jobs last year and lost HK$21.6 billion (US$2.8 billion). Last week, it revealed it was planning the closure of the first of several overseas pilot crew bases, placing hundreds of jobs at risk. …

A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman confirmed the move to staff: “Based on requests from some of our employees, we have decided to offer certain of our employee groups (pilots, cabin crew and airport employees, etc) the option of a voluntary separation scheme. We are providing support to all those who apply, including a competitive exit package.”

Pilots who choose redundancy are being offered a lump sum equal to between three and six months’ salary, depending on the length of time they have been with the company. They will also get a one-time payment equivalent to twice their monthly housing allowance.

Cabin crew will get a similar offer to walk away: A payment equivalent to between two and six months’ salary, and extended travel and medical benefits.

The total amount of eligible compensation will without doubt depend on seniority of the employee and getting a few months severance isn’t much if you have ongoing expenses in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

According to Glass Door the typical Cathay Pacific Pilot salary is HK$60,000. Pilot salaries at Cathay Pacific can range from HK$35,000 – HK$80,235. This is rather low in international comparison.

Remember also, all of Cathay Pacific’s pilots and more than 90% of its cabin crew have signed new, cheaper employment contracts, the airline revealed last November. This is already putting them at a disadvantage compared to previous years.

Depending on the nationality of the employees they could potentially seek out new employment with other airlines. The problem: The issues Cathay Pacific faces aren’t unique as the entire industry suffers from a surplus in employees.

Although in some parts of the world airlines are now expanding their schedules again and call furloughed pilots back to duty, we’re nowhere near the demand of pre-pandemic 2020/2019. Finding a new job in the aviation industry might be tough at the moment.

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific is offering voluntary redundancy with compensation to their employees in hopes to reduce their numbers even further as revenues and passenger numbers remain low.

With Hong Kong having a strict quarantine regime in place, pretty much leaving only hub traffic the traffic Cathay Pacific is able to move is extremely limited. They do provide some decent connections from Asia to North America and currently operate one lounge (The Wing First Class section) for all travelers eligible for lounge access regardless of what class.

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