Cathay Pacific has asked all of its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave over the coming months, the company’s CEO told staff on Wednesday.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier has asked the staff including senior managers to take leave on a voluntary basis between March and June, as it intended to cut services by about 30% over the next two months, including a cut of about 90% in flights to mainland China.
Coronavirus has impacted the airline after it suffered from the civil unrest in the country that lasted for months.
“I am appealing to each and every one of you to help,” said CEO Augustus Tang Kin-wing in a taped video recording.
He said the situation of the company is “just as grave” as the global financial crisis of 2009.
“Preserving our cash is now key to protecting our business,” he added and wanted all staff to support.
In Wednesday’s video, Tang said Chinese new year is normally one of the most profitable times of year for the airline, but this year it was “one of the most difficult … we have ever had.”
He acknowledged a “large decline in the number of visitors” to and through Hong Kong, mainland China, and many other countries around the world.
“We don’t know how long this will last,” said Tang, who has only been in the top job since August.