Cathay Pacific Airlines asks staff to take unpaid leave due to coronavirus

AAN airline is asking all of its staff to take unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak, a newspaper reported.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 4:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 4:34 pm
Cathay Pacific. Picture: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Cathay Pacific Airways has asked all of its 27,000 employees to take it in turns taking three weeks unpaid leave while the Hong Kong carrier struggles with plunging revenue.

In a video message to employees, chief executive Augustus Tang said the situation is as grave as the 2009 financial crisis, The South China Morning Post reported.

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On Tuesday, Cathay announced a 90 per cent reduction in flight capacity to mainland China, which has cancelled group tours and told business people to put off foreign travel while Beijing fights the outbreak of coronavirus centred on the city of Wuhan.

The carrier cut 30 per cent of its worldwide capacity for two months.

Cathay Pacific operates flights out of Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.

The airline used similar ‘special leave’ in 2009 and during the 2003 outbreak of Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which also led to cuts in flights.

‘I am appealing to each and every one of you to help,’ Mr Tang was quoted as saying.