Cathay Pacific can’t stop pilot exodus as it tries to hire more

The airline's workforce has shrunk by almost 40% since the start of the pandemic as Hong Kong’s stringent travel curbs saw Cathay Pacific burning cash, forcing it to drastically scale back staff and operations.
“We still have resignation rates at much higher levels than we’ve historically had,” chief operations and service delivery officer Greg Hughes said at a town hall meeting for Cathay staff watched online by Bloomberg News. “It would also be an incorrect statement for me to make that COS18 is not one of the reasons.”COS18 refers to contracts introduced in 2018 for new employees, and expanded to all existing crew in October 2020, that cut pilots’ pay by about 40% and reduced housing and retirement benefits. “We truly believe that it’s a competitive remuneration package for Hong Kong pilots,” Hughes said. “That doesn’t mean it’s satisfactory for everyone.”
Cathay Pacific Airways continues to experience a very high rate of pilot resignations, and may improve allowances and benefits to appease crew who took deep pay cuts to help Hong Kong’s flag carrier navigate its way through the city’s Covid-19 crisis.
Cathay’s workforce has shrunk almost 40% during the pandemic as Hong Kong’s stringent travel curbs and effectively closed border saw the airline burning cash, forcing it to drastically scale back staff and operations. In addition to redundancies, those who retired or left to join other airlines or industries, hundreds of Cathay employees departed after being caught up in the government’s aggressive clampdown on infections.
Cathay Pilots Worried About Quarantine Urged to Call In Sick
There was an uptick in resignations in November after about 150 Cathay staff and their families were sent to a government-run Covid isolation camp called Penny’s Bay when three crew members became infected while overseas. People across industries have left Hong Kong because of its strict Covid policies and Beijing’s growing influence over the city, but Cathay and its employees have been particularly exposed, with staff also embroiled in anti-China protests that rocked the hub in 2019.
Hong Kong Departures Climb to Pandemic High as Residents Flee Fleeing Hong Kong Gets Harder With Fewest Flights Out in Decades Expat Exodus Builds in Hong Kong, But Escape Is Expensive
The airline will continue to adjust benefits to retain staff, Hughes indicated in the meeting, which was held to update staff on business in the second quarter.
“Our desire is to ensure that COS18 remains competitive, both for our existing crew and for new ...