Cathay shuts Canada pilot base

Local | REUTERS 23 Apr 2021

Cathay Pacific Airways will close its Canadian pilot base and has proposed to also shut similar bases in Australia and New Zealand, the airline said yesterday.

No decisions have been made on the fate of its pilots based in Europe and the United States, the airline said in a statement that noted all passenger fleet pilots on overseas bases had been stood down since May.

The decision to close the Canadian base is final, while the Australian and New Zealand plan is a proposal at this stage and will involve a good faith consultation process with employees, Cathay said.

In Australia and New Zealand, employers must consult with staff before redundancies as part of union agreements, but it is rare for publicly announced decisions to be reversed.

Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand made similar announcements last year about consultations before proceeding with their staff cuts.

Cathay Pacific had already closed overseas cabin crew bases and shut its regional airline, Cathay Dragon, to help it conserve cash during the pandemic, resulting in the loss of more than 5,900 jobs.

The remaining Hong Kong-based pilots and cabin crew had to agree to permanent pay cuts to keep their jobs.

Cathay, which lacks a domestic market at a time when international borders are largely shut, last month reported a record annual loss of HK$21.65 billion.

It has been burning through as much as HK$1.9 billion of cash a month, though the carrier said last week that figure would begin to reduce slightly due to an easing of cargo crew quarantine requirements.

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