A Monitor Desk Report 23 May, 2017 | 1449 Views | -+
Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific Airways on Monday said it's laying off about 600 staff at its head office in Hong Kong, against the backdrop of fierce competition from the low cost airlines. Nearly a third of them work in management jobs. The cuts are equivalent to about 20% of staff at Cathay headquarters.
The airline reported its first annual loss in eight years in March this year.
Meanwhile, another premium Asian carrier, Singapore Airlines, posted a shocking loss last week.
"The business model of Cathay was developed when low-cost carrier competition didn't exist in the region and Chinese carriers were much smaller," said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at aviation industry website Flightglobal.
Cathay and Singapore are now trying to adjust to the new reality.
Cathay has embarked on an overhaul of its business to make it "more agile and competitive." Singapore Airlines said last week it was carrying out a comprehensive review of its operations.
"We're really at a historic time for the Asian airlines. It's going to be challenging for them," Waldron said, noting that other established carriers in the region, such as Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines, have also faced difficulties.
Cathay said that no pilots or cabin crew would be affected by the layoffs announced Monday, but they will "be asked to deliver greater efficiencies and productivity improvements."