Cathay Pacific offers pilots redundancy due to Covid-19 devastation

Cathay Dragon fleet sits parked on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport. - China Daily

HONG KONG (Bloomberg): Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is offering voluntary redundancy to staff including pilots, cabin crew and airport workers as it continues to struggle with a collapse in travel because of Covid.

The Hong Kong-based airline said operating conditions remain "incredibly challenging” and that the decision was based on requests from some employees. It expects no discernible improvement to operations in the short to medium term. The South China Morning Post reported earlier Wednesday (April 28) that Cathay had offered voluntary redundancy to pilots and cabin crew.

Cathay already cut 5,900 jobs in October, including some 600 pilots, and eliminated other vacant positions in layoffs that amounted to almost one-quarter of its total workforce. It reported a record loss of about HK$21.7 billion (US$2.8 billion) last year, shuttered regional airline Cathay Dragon and implemented a recapitalization plan to raise HK$39 billion to help it weather the crisis.

Cathay Chairman Patrick Healy said last month that passenger capacity would be well below 50% of pre-pandemic levels in 2021.

With Covid restrictions still holding back international travel, Cathay has been operating at skeleton capacity for months, serving only 18 destinations in March, when it flew an average of 598 passengers a day.

A promising development came this week as the start date of a quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore was set for May 26, although that will only lift Cathay’s traffic by as much as 3%, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Teo.

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