Cathay Pacific Vancouver Base Closure Leads To Job Cuts

Hong Kong’s largest airline announced earlier today that it will be laying off 147 employees at its Vancouver cabin crew base. The airline has had a tough 12 months in the lead up to the announcement, as it has found itself at the center of both the Hong Kong protests and the coronavirus outbreak.

Cathay Pacific jet
Cathay Pacific announced 147 job losses earlier today. Photo: Getty Images

It’s been a tough few months for airlines all over Asia as they have had to deal with massively reduced demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak which hit global headlines back in January. Cathay Pacific is one of the many airlines which have suffered as a result of widespread travel restrictions across Asia and further afield.

But Cathay Pacific’s recent troubles arose much earlier than other airlines in Asia. The Hong Kong protests, which started in earnest back in June 2019, had a massively negative effect on the airline’s operations and general demand for air travel into and out of Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific’s job cuts

As reported by Skift, Cathay Pacific’s most recent bad news came earlier today. The airline announced it will be closing its Vancouver cabin crew base, with a total loss of 147 jobs. Discussing the move in a statement, Cathay Pacific said,

“As part of our ongoing business review, we have made the decision to close down our Vancouver cabin crew base.”

The closure of Cathay Pacific’s Vancouver cabin crew base was made as part of an ongoing business review as the airline tries to mitigate the effects of its recent string of bad luck. The closure of the Vancouver cabin crew base will not go into effect until June. Cathay Pacific told Simple Flying that it is currently “communicating with the union” about the future of the cabin crew who are set to lose their jobs in June.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350
The coronavirus outbreak forced Cathay to significantly reduce its capacity across February and March. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

While today’s announcement will come as bad news for many of the airline’s staff, it’s not the first round of job cuts the airline has recently announced. In fact, it’s not even the first batch of job cuts Cathay Pacific has made in Canada.

According to reports by the South China Morning Post, Cathay Pacific cut 120 jobs early last year when it closed its base in Toronto. This decision was taken before the Hong Kong protests and coronavirus emerged as additional issues the airline had to deal with.

How badly have the Hong Kong protests and the coronavirus outbreak affected Cathay Pacific?

Cathay Pacific has not yet announced its results for the 2019-20 financial year, although they will be published this coming Wednesday. Predictions for the upcoming results look dire, as the full effects of the Hong Kong protests and coronavirus outbreak become apparent.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350
Cathay Pacific will release its end of year financial results next week. Photo: Riik@mctr via Wikimedia Commons

Back in February, the airline announced it would be cutting capacity across February and March by 40%. In particular, these cuts affected Cathay’s flights to the Chinese mainland, as this market has been particularly badly hit by both the Hong Kong protests and the coronavirus outbreak.

We’ll have to wait and see just how badly the last 12 months have affected Cathay Pacific, but Wednesday likely won’t bring good news.