Update at end of article…
At an upcoming presentation in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Cathay Pacific is set to announce significant job losses as fears emerge that the company could be heading for its first full year loss since 2010.
It is not yet known what departments the job losses will be made in or the numbers involved. Where possible plans are being drawn up to both redeploy staff into other roles but redundancies are also on the cards.
Cathay’s Chief Operating Officer, Rupert Hogg recently told the South China Morning Post that Cathay Pacific will make “the right long-term decisions” and stated that the airline would have to “rethink its workforce” due to the “challenging and competitive environment coming up.”
In August 2016, Cathay reported an 82% drop in first-half net income. The carrier has blamed a range of factors for its poor performance including:
- A decline in Chinese tourists flying to Europe owing to fears about terrorism,
- Increased competition from Chinese airlines and Gulf rivals,
- The biggest slump in premium travellers since the 2008 financial crisis,
- And a huge loss of $579 million USD from fuel hedges that went wrong.
At that time, the Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific, Ivan Chu, said: “There’s not much we can do about the economic environment,” he went on: “We hope it is a short-term issue rather than a long-term one. We are going to have very competitive fares.”
Job losses aren’t the only changes being made at Cathay. A much-reported adjustment to the seating configuration on its Boeing 777 fleet will see the economy section going from 9 seats abreast to 10 abreast.
Although the change to the 777 seating configuration may be unpopular with passengers Cathay points out that it needs to extract as much money out of every flight at its capacity stretched home airport. Besides which, many of Cathay’s competitors have been flying the Boeing 777 jet as 10 abreast in economy for years.
Other commentators have noted that Cathay doesn’t really have a low-cost subsidiary to compete with the likes of AirAsia and Scoot. Both of which have been stealing a march within Cathay’s home region. In fact, Cathay Dragon, the regional airline of the group is said to have costs that are just as high as at Cathay Pacific.
A rather lacklustre report was emailed to the 33,700 employees of Cathay Pacific on Wednesday 18th January setting out the airline’s turnaround plan. The review stated: “We aim to build a faster, leaner and simpler organizational structure … There will be a big change in the way we do things across the company,” but went into surprisingly little detail.
Redundancies are likely to be made but the document didn’t state the numbers involved or what departments job losses would come from.
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific