12th September 2020 – (Hong Kong) The government injected over HK$30 billion into Cathay Pacific in June and it was approved for HK$700m under the Employment Support Scheme (ESS). Cathay Pacific Airways (00293) announced yesterday that Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon will not apply for a new round of ESS wage subsidy assistance. Some of the group’s subsidiaries, including Hong Kong Express, Air Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal, Hong Kong Airport Services and Cathay Pacific Catering Services will still apply. It is believed that this move may pave the way for more layoffs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused aviation industry to be disrupted by over 6 months and in August, it was rumoured that Cathay Pacific would furlough over 1/3 of its employees. Taking into account the 20,000 employees of the two airlines, the number of layoffs is expected to reach 6,000. The labour union said that employees were disappointed with Cathay Pacific’s decision by cutting wages and putting them on unpaid leave.
The Labour Department expressed concern about the incident and called on Cathay Pacific to communicate frankly with employees on employment matters.