Coronavirus: Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Asks Staff to Take Three Weeks of Unpaid Leave

(Photo: Cathay Pacific)

While many airlines have been forced to cancel flights due the Coronavirus, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific’s route network means that it is being hit hard by falling market demand. The airline has already suffered the financial effect of falling passenger demand caused by months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which is the hub of its services. Therefore, in an effort to cut its costs it has offered its staff a voluntary special leave scheme that will run for four months from March 1.

Cathay has already cut services to Guangzhou, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Sanya and Haikou in mainland China and also on other international routes.

The airline stated: “In view of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and also significant drop in market demand, we just announced massive capacity cuts yesterday [Feb 4].

“Preserving cash is the key to protecting our business. We have already been taking multiple measures to achieve this.

“Today, we are appealing to all employees to participate in the special leave scheme, which will take effect from 1 March and last until 30 June. All employees will have the option to take three weeks of unpaid leave in this period.”