Cathay Pacific 'to axe another 200 jobs'

Cathay Pacific's check-in aisle at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline announced on Monday that it was cutting 600 jobs - its largest headcount reduction in about 20 years.
Cathay Pacific's check-in aisle at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline announced on Monday that it was cutting 600 jobs - its largest headcount reduction in about 20 years.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways plans to cut an additional 200 jobs on top of the 600 already announced as it seeks to return to profitability, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday.

The report came a day after Cathay said it was slashing 600 jobs at its head office, comprising 25 per cent of management and 18 per cent of non-managerial positions, its biggest headcount reduction in almost two decades.

The 200 additional jobs to be cut would come from junior ranks before the conclusion of the massive restructuring at the end of this year, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed sources.

Cathay did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The job cuts are the first step in a three-year reorganisation plan announced this year by the carrier.

Once a dominant player in Asia's premium air travel market with few serious rivals, the city-based marquee carrier has hit turbulence despite the booming travel demand in the region.

It reported its first annual loss in eight years for last year, in part from a fuel-hedging bet gone wrong.

While sharing sketchy details of its review in January, Cathay said changes "will start at the top" and it would do away with some positions, with key moves taking effect by the middle of the year.

Most of the restructuring is to be completed by the end of this year, Cathay said in a statement on Monday. No front-line employees, pilots or cabin crew will be affected, it said. The group had about 33,000 people as of June last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"We've had to make tough but necessary decisions for the future of our business and our customers," Mr Rupert Hogg, who became chief executive officer on May 1, said in the statement.

The company has said it is targeting savings of about 30 per cent from staff cost cuts at its headquarters. An official at Air China, which owns 30 per cent of Cathay, said in March that the carrier will reduce more than HK$4 billion (S$712 million) in costs over three years.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'Cathay Pacific 'to axe another 200 jobs''. Print Edition | Subscribe