90% of Cathay Pacific employees agree to 2nd round of unpaid leave to save airline and jobs

Ninety percent of the employees of Hong Kong based airline Cathay Pacific have agreed to a second round of unpaid leaves in order to save the airline.

"I am truly humbled to see more than 90% of employees across the Cathay group take part in this scheme, an even higher percentage than in our first Special Leave Scheme.

"There is clearly a strong collective desire to see our company survive and thrive, which I am confident we will," said Cathay Pacific CEO Augustus Tang Kin-wing

Recovery may take awhile

The airline foresees a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic where it may still take 2 to 3 years for travel demand to reach pre-covid numbers.

According to a report from the Bangkok Post, Cathay Pacific is embarking on a sweeping restructure to survive the pandemic, fresh from unveiling a HK$39 billion bailout, with the government providing most of the cash in exchange for two non-voting boardroom seats and the option to take a 6.08% take in the firm.

"As you know, the challenges facing the industry are significant and recovery will be a slow one. Further tough decisions to secure our future competitiveness will of course be necessary, but we hope to gradually increase frequencies and destinations when market and regulatory conditions allow," said Tang.

80% of staff took pay cuts from March to June

Airline employees and crew would rather take pay cuts rather than face retrenchment. During the first round of unpaid leaves, 80% of Cathay Pacific employees subscribed to pay cuts.

The pandemic has resulted to Cathay Pacific grounding most of its planes with daily passenger volume during the worst period of the coronavirus crisis falling to just less than 1% of normal figures.

Since February this year, the airline has been burning cash at a rate of up to $3 billion monthly.

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