Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) would cut 6,000 jobs and close its Cathay Dragon brand, the South China Morning Post reported, as part of a strategic review to combat the unprecedented damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to officially announce the plan after the market close today, the newspaper said.
It initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its total workforce, including about 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong, it said.
The company, which posted a HK$9.9 billion (US$1.3 billion) loss in the first half, has for months been working on the review that management presented to the board on Monday.
Cathay last month said that it would not survive unless it adapted its airlines for the “new travel market.”
Cathay’s passenger traffic slumped as travel restrictions escalated and people refrained from flying, with numbers as low as 500 a day in April and May.
On Monday, the company said it expected to operate at about 10 percent of pre-pandemic capacity for the rest of the year and well below one-quarter in the first half of next year.
For last month, passenger numbers were down 98.1 percent from a year earlier.
Cathay carried out a HK$39 billion recapitalization plan that was completed in August and left the Hong Kong government with a 6.08 percent stake in the company and two observer seats on its board.
In another effort to cushion the blow from the loss of passengers, the airline has been renegotiating aircraft deliveries from Airbus SE and Boeing Co.
Cathay already introduced an unpaid leave program for staff earlier in the year as monthly losses climbed to as much as HK$3 billion, and trimmed salaries and closed crew bases overseas.
The company was struggling with losses before the pandemic as anti-government protests in Hong Kong led to a sharp reduction in traffic last year and a change in management.
Then COVID-19 erupted, thrusting the airline into what Healy described as the most challenging period in its history.
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