Cathay Pacific Airways will eliminate 8,500 job posts, making 5,900 staff redundant, and shut one of its regional airlines with immediate effect under a global HK$2.2 billion (US$284 million) restructuring to cope with the pandemic fallout, the company revealed on Wednesday.
Unveiling the largest jobs cut in its history, Hong Kong’s flag carrier said 5,300 city-based and 600 overseas employees would be made redundant “in the coming weeks”, while 2,600 unfilled posts would be abolished.
Across the globe, airlines have been hammered as the pandemic has slashed international travel, and they face a long, hard winter after a much-hoped-for rebound failed to materialize.
“The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation and the hard truth is we must fundamentally restructure the Group to survive,” CEO Augustus Tang said in a statement.
Cathay said 5,300 redundancies would be made among the airline’s Hong Kong-based employees with a further 600 overseas.
The remaining losses would come from a recruitment freeze and natural attrition. Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary that primarily flies shorter-haul flights within Asia, will cease operations.
The company is seeking regulatory approval to absorb some of Dragon’s routes into Cathay Pacific and its budget airline HK Express.
Cathay Pacific on Monday said it would operate at less than half capacity throughout 2021 compared with pre-health crisis levels, underscoring the slow pace of recovery.
The airline’s assumptions, which hinge on an effective Covid-19 vaccine by next summer, expects global air traffic to climb to 70 per cent of pre-crisis levels by the end of 2021.