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World Cathay Pacific to cut thousands of jobs, close subsidiary airline

05:30  21 october  2020
05:30  21 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. will cut 6,000 jobs and close its Cathay Dragon brand, the South China Morning Post reported, as part of a strategic review to combat the deep damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of thousands of people are employed in various areas of the sector.

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Cathay Pacific is to slash up to 5,900 jobs and shutter its Cathay Dragon subsidiary, the Hong Kong carrier said Wednesday, joining a growing list of airlines making swingeing cuts as they reel from the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of people standing in front of a sign: Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary that primarily flies shorter haul flights within Asia, will cease operations © Anthony WALLACE Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary that primarily flies shorter haul flights within Asia, will cease operations

Across the globe, airlines have been hammered by the pandemic slashing international travel and they face a long, hard winter after a much-hoped-for rebound failed to materialise.

On Wednesday, Cathay Pacific published a corporate restructuring plan that will lead to thousands of job losses and one of its airlines to disappear completely.

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"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.

"We have to do this to protect as many jobs as possible and meet our responsibilities to the Hong Kong aviation hub and our customers."

Bosses said 5,300 redundancies would be made among the airline's Hong Kong-based employees with a further 600 losses overseas -- the equivalent of 17 percent of its total workforce.

Including a recruitment freeze and natural attrition, 8,500 positions will disappear in total.

Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary that primarily flies shorter-haul flights within Asia, will cease operations.

The company is seeking regulatory approval to absorb Dragon's routes into Cathay Pacific and its budget airline HK Express.

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Cathay Pacific will be cutting flights to Frankfurt, New York, Paris, Vancouver, and more, following a couple of very challenging months. Well, with a pretty gloomy short-term forecast, the airline has just updated their schedule to cut quite a few routes.

Hong Kong's flagship airline Cathay Pacific has asked staff to take three weeks of unpaid leave to help it cope with the impact of the coronavirus. The carrier had already been hit by the effect on passenger demand of several months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

- Dismal year -

Airline revenues plunged 80 percent in the first six months of the year, according to industry body IATA, but they still had fixed costs to cover -- crew, maintenance, fuel, airport levies and now aircraft storage.


Video: Hong Kong budget carrier joins 'flights to nowhere' trend (AFP)

Repeated efforts to reassure passengers that air travel is safe have failed to make much of a difference while government restrictions, including quarantines of up to 14 days for returning passengers, have only added pressure. Dozens of major airlines have slashed jobs in response.

Even before the pandemic, Cathay Pacific was in a tight spot.

Months of huge and disruptive democracy protests in Hong Kong last year led to a plunge in customers, especially from the lucrative mainland Chinese market.

The airline also found itself punished by authorities in Beijing because some of its employees joined or voiced support for the protests.

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Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. will slash passenger capacity by 96% in April and May as the Cathay Pacific will operate three flights per week to 12 destinations: London, Los Angeles, Vancouver Away from China, where the pandemic originated, major airlines have grounded thousands of planes and

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By the time the pandemic hit at the start of the year, Hong Kong was already in recession and Cathay Pacific in the red.

Tang said the airline was currently burning through up to HK$2 billion ($260 million) in cash each month during the pandemic.

"This is simply unsustainable. The changes announced today will reduce our cash burn by about HK$500 million per month," he added.

There is scant hope on the horizon.

In a note to investors on Monday that detailed its most optimistic scenario, Cathay Pacific said it expected to run at half its pre-pandemic capacity next year.

One of the biggest disappointments for airlines has been the absence of highly lucrative business class travellers who prefer now to rely on tele-conferencing rather than run the risk of catching the virus.

Airlines are hopeful that better testing procedures at airports and "travel bubbles" between countries might encourage more people to fly.

Work on the latter has been slow, especially as the virus surges for a second time in Europe and North America.

Last week, Hong Kong and Singapore announced plans for a "travel bubble" to allow people who test negative for the virus.

Once the scheme comes in, passengers who test negative for the virus will be able to travel on dedicated flights and not need to quarantine on arrival.

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Qantas to chase new Asian routes, with flights to UK and United States unlikely for another year .
Australians are unlikely to fly to the US or UK on Qantas for another year, with its chief executive outlining that this could "potentially" happen "by the end of 2021", with the airline turning its focus to new Asian markets in the meantime."For some of our big destination like the United States and the UK, it's going to need a vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of those locations," Qantas Group boss Alan Joyce said at the company's AGM in Sydney on Friday.

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