Cathay offers voluntary redundancy to slash costs

Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, is offering its local-based pilots and cabin crew voluntary redundancy, as part of efforts to further slash costs to stay afloat amid the ongoing pandemic.

In an internal memo sent to staff on Wednesday, the struggling carrier said despite mass vaccinations and travel bubbles being formed, the pace of recovery is still highly unpredictable as the prospect of resuming international travel remains clouded in uncertainties.

Cathay said it sees no “discernible improvement” in the short to medium term and expects to continue operating a skeleton passenger flight schedule for “some considerable time”.

It has told local pilots and cabin crew that they will have until May 12 if they want to sign up for the voluntary redundancy scheme, and they’ll be offered a “competitive redundancy package” with additional payouts.

Last month, Cathay reported a record annual loss of HK$21.65 billion.

It said there was a need to further cut costs, as it had been burning through as much as HK$1.9 billion in cash each month.

The airline announced last week that it would close its Canadian pilot base, and was considering doing the same with its bases in Australia and New Zealand.

Last year, Cathay axed almost 6,000 jobs worldwide, including 5,300 positions in Hong Kong.