HONG KONG flag carrier Cathay Pacific is seeking to rehire hundreds of cabin crew as it plans for a recovery in regional and international travel.
The airline sent an email to formed staff who left or were laid off as the Covid pandemic brought travel to a halt and deepened Cathay’s financial troubles. The departing crew members had agreed to be contacted if future job opportunities arose.
Cathay told the South China Morning Post that its recruitment drive would also include pilots, ground staff, engineers and frontline staff as it planned for an “anticipated recovery” over the next 18 to 24 months.
A record 5,900 jobs at Cathay were shed in temporary and permanent staff cuts as the airline axed its regional operator Cathay Dragon in October 2020, the Post reported. The workforce was further reduced by 2,500 in the first half of the following year.
Hong Kong retains some of the world’s most stringent anti-Covid measures including compulsory a seven-day hotel quarantine on arrival and a five-day suspension of flight routes for airlines with passengers who test positive for the coronavirus on arrival.
Social-distancing rules in Hong Kong imposed to combat a fifth wave of Covid cases triggered by the Omicron variant have been gradually eased from May 1 with measures that include flight crews having to spend three days in hotel quarantine.
People in the local aviation industry have voiced concerns that the cabin crew jobs were for junior roles with former senior staff reluctant to take up Cathay’s offer due to pay levels and demands such as the existing quarantine rules. The airline began recruiting pilots last summer with 200 having been hired for Cathay Pacific with a total of 300 across the group’s airlines, the newspaper had earlier reported.