Cathay Pacific ground support members work at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, Oct 21, 2020. (VINCENT YU/AP)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways said on Thursday that more than 90 percent of its pilots and flight attendants had signed new contracts that will result in permanent pay cuts.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the airline said 2,613 pilots and 7,346 cabin crew had signed on to new conditions of service, representing 98.5 percent of pilots and 91.6 percent of cabin crew who were asked to agree to new contract terms. Wednesday was the deadline for existing employees of signing.
"None of the severance payments will be offset against pension contributions, and staff will be reimbursed for any unpaid leave they took in 2020," Cathay said, referring to employees who had decided not to sign the new contracts
Cathay said the request for its current employees to sign new contracts, along with the redundancies announced last month, was essential to the survival of the airline while aiming to "protect as many jobs as possible" amid the "extremely challenging" post-COVID-19 travel environment.
The airlines said it respected the decision of those who decided not to join, adding that they would be offered packages that go beyond statutory requirements.
"None of the severance payments will be offset against pension contributions, and staff will be reimbursed for any unpaid leave they took in 2020," according to the release.
It also said it has adequate manpower to operate planned flights throughout 2021. The carrier has expected to operate under 25 percent of 2019 passenger capacity in the first half of 2021 and below 50 percent for the entire year.
Executive pay cuts will continue throughout 2021 and the third voluntary special leave scheme for non-flying employees will be introduced in the first half of next year, Cathay said.
There will be no salary increase for 2021 nor payment of annual discretionary bonus for 2020 across the board for all employees, it added.
"Overall, the restructuring will reduce our operating cash burn by about HK$500 million per month, bringing it down to HK$1-1.5 billion per month," Cathay said.
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