Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific eyes ‘structural change’

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways

Hong Kong, (Asian independent)┬áHong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific was looking at “structural change” as it investigates how to downscale its business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a media report said on Thursday.

The airline was mulling scenarios that could reduce staff headcount, routes served and planes flown, as well as the possible consolidation of its airline brands, in drastic steps that would mirror those taken by rivals in recent weeks, said the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper report.

“We are currently working with colleagues from across the airline to model varying degrees of structural change that may be required to preserve our business and our collective future from the catastrophic impact of COVID-19,” the report quoted the airline as saying in a letter to its pilots, who were asked to meet management about potential changes.

“No firm direction has yet been set,” the letter added.

As the carrier extended the cancellation of most passenger flights until the end of June, sources said a fresh round of effective pay cuts was set to be rolled out, with around four more weeks of unpaid leave suggested.

Most of the airline group’s 34,200 staff have signed up to take three weeks of unpaid leave, a scheme which expires in June.

Hong Kong’s aviation industry and Cathay Pacific were among the first and hardest hit by the global pandemic, said the SCMP report.

Cathay Pacific has grounded nearly all flights since April after steep cuts to its schedule in February and March.

Business was already struggling through several months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong and management turmoil.