Hong Kong Airlines to slash 400 jobs as coronavirus hits travel

Hong Kong Airlines to slash 400 jobs as coronavirus hits travel

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

The airline is now going to slash its daily operations from 82 flights to just 30, from February 11 into March

Hong Kong Airline Stares at Bleak Future

Ominous dark clouds seem to be gathering over Hong Kong Airlines after it announced its decision to slash 400 jobs and cut operations given weak travel demand as the coronavirus continues to spread its tentacles across the world.

It has also caught the airline industry in its vice-like grip — Hong Kong Airlines being the latest example.

This unexpected move would force the airline into a financially tight corner.

According to an airline spokesperson, the airline would slash its daily operations from 82 flights to just 30, from February 11 into March.

According to reports, Hong Kong Airlines chairman Hou Wei, in a moving letter to staff, said, “This rapidly changing situation is of grave concern and a serious threat to Hong Kong Airlines’ business.”

Hou Wei also added that the changes were about ensuring its very survival.

Pilots and Cabin Crew at the Receiving End

As per reports, it is the pilots and cabin crew who are getting a raw deal from the airlines as they comprise 10 percent of its workforce.

It is being said that this is going to be the largest dismissal of aviation staff in Hong Kong since the restricting of Cathay Pacific.

Those ground staff based in Hong Kong, are being given the option to take a minimum of two weeks’ unpaid leave per month or work a three-day week from February 17 until June 30.

With [Hou’s] letter, I have no idea if I’m going to be fired or not. For our airline, it’s all about your connections,” a pilot, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Coping with Hard Times

According to a spokesperson of Hong Kong Airlines, they didn’t gamble on things going out of control. However, the airline, despite being forced to take tough measures, hopes to stay for the long haul.

A pilot, who is likely to lose his job, believes that what is happening currently doesn’t augur well for Hong Kong Airlines.

Cathay Pacific Facing Similar Problem

Not only Hong Kong Airlines, but even Cathay Pacific has also been struggling with a sharp fall in demand since the middle of 2019 due to widespread anti-government protests in the Chinese-controlled territory. Hong Kong Airlines has also been facing other financial woes. In December, it had to draw up plans to raise money as it ran the risk of getting its license suspended by the city’s air transport regulator.

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