Cathay Pacific Faces Employee Contract and Route Issues

Airlines based in and serving Southeast Asia have been hit especially hard during the pandemic.

International arrivals into the region were down 74% in the first 8 months of 2020, rising to 98% down for the period May to August.

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Cathay Pacific have announced the closure of regional carrier Cathay Dragon and a total of 5,900 job losses across their operations. One of the largest carriers in the region have stated that they expect to only operate at around 50% of its normal capacity throughout 2021.

New Contracts

Cathay have also looking to change contracts with pilots and cabin crew as part of the restructuring process. Employees have until 4th November to agree to the new contracts or face termination of their contract according to unions.

It has been reported that pilots face salary reductions of up to 58% although there would be a series of year-long transitional benefits. cabin crew are reported to be facing up to 40% reductions.

Last week Cathay Pacific announced that the majority of pilots and cabin crew had agreed to the contract changes and said “We are very grateful that a majority of our pilots and cabin crew have already signed up to the new conditions of service.”

Their statement continued “We would like each and every one of our pilots and cabin crew to join us and be part of Cathay Pacific’s future.” This followed incentive payments being on offer for employees who signed up for the new contracts by 28th October.

The South China Post however reported on 3rd November that Cathay Pacific cabin crew are due to vote on whether they want the Flight Attendants Union to take legal action against the airline.

Cathay Dragon Routes

Cathay Pacific have already announced that they intend to continue with as many of Cathay Dragons routes as possible in the future.

However Nikkei Asia have reported that a spokesman from the Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau called Cathay dragons routes from Hong Kong as being “important public resources that belong to the HKSAR government” and that the traffic rights “shall be returned to the government for reallocation and cannot be automatically transferred to other airlines.”

This puts much of the restructuring plans of Cathay Pacific at risk if they lose many of the 40 plus routes that could be affected.

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Header photo credit Cathay Dragon plane by 鍾鄭諺 on flickr

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