Cathay Pacific’s International Pilots Denied Visas For Hong Kong

Almost 500 non-local Cathay Pacific pilots have had their work permit applications knocked back by Hong Kong’s Immigration…

Cathay Pacific’s International Pilots Denied Visas For Hong Kong

Almost 500 non-local Cathay Pacific pilots have had their work permit applications knocked back by Hong Kong’s Immigration Department. Cathy Pacific has confirmed 496 pilots whose jobs were dependant on securing work permits have failed to get the necessary tick of approval from Hong Kong authorities.

Hong Kong authorities have rejected applications for work permits by nearly 500 Cathay Pacific pilots. Photo: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific pilot jobs contingent on relocating to Hong Kong

According to a report by Danny Lee in The South China Morning Post on the weekend,  Cathay Pacific pilots based in places like Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia have attempted to relocate to Hong Kong to hold onto their jobs at the airline.

Cathay Pacific has shut several offshore pilot bases this year as it attempts to cut costs as anemic levels of flying slowly strangle the airline. As bases closed, Cathay Pacific told pilots they needed to move to Hong Kong to keep their jobs.

But Hong Kong’s Immigration Department declined every application for work permits from these pilots, many of whom have worked for Cathay Pacific for years.

“We have been informed by the Immigration Department that the work permit applications from overseas-based pilots who have applied to relocate to Hong Kong have been rejected,” Cathay Pacific confirmed.

“We are reaching out to support these officers, many of whom will have the opportunity to elect an enhanced termination benefit.”

Hundreds of Cathay Pacific pilots will likely lose their jobs after work permit applications were rejected. Photo: Getty Images

UK & US Cathay Pacific pilot jobs also at risk

Of the 496 work permit applied for, 423 of those pilots had previously been issued work permits allowing residency in Hong Kong at some point in time. Three hundred and twelve pilots currently living and working in Hong Kong on work permits had those permits extended, but 111 Cathay Pacific pilots did not.

The number of rejected work permit applications is likely to increase. This month, Cathay Pacific confirmed it would close its London pilot base, putting the jobs of the 100 odd pilots based there at risk. Pilot bases in the United States also face an uncertain future with a decision on their future to be made later this year, risking a further 140 US-based pilot jobs.

“Sadly, this represents yet another blow to those who have staked their career on Cathay Pacific Airways,” said Alex Jackson, chairman of the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association.

“This decision was one made by the Hong Kong government, the options for a better resolution were limited and outside our control, especially in the current climate.”

Cathay Pacific is only flying a fraction of its 2019 capacity. Photo: Cathay Pacific

High levels of unemployment among existing Hong Kong-based pilots

It seems high local pilot unemployment levels are behind the decision not to issue work permits.  In 2020, Cathay Pacific axed 5,900 jobs, including pilot roles. The airline has trimmed an additional 2,500 jobs this year as it flies at less than 15% of its 2019 levels. There are around 3,000 surviving pilots based in Hong Kong. They’ve agreed to long-term pay cuts to hold onto their jobs.

But the offshore-based pilots are not so lucky. However, with so many pilots living in Hong Kong out of work, some argue Hong Kong needs to look after its own people first. The South China Morning Post says 300 pilots living in Hong Kong are out of work, including many former Cathay Dragon pilots.

“It is good to see that immigration is recognizing this, and denying new work visas as per their own policy, and we still hope that they extend this to visa renewals to expedite the re-employment of local pilots,” the newspaper quotes an unnamed spokesperson for the unemployed pilots saying.

It is a grim situation all round for all Cathay Pacific employees. But Cathay’s pilots based outside Hong Kong who’ve given years, even decades to the airline, might rightly feel short-changed right now.

Source : Simple Flying More   

What's Your Reaction?


Next Article

Adelaide Hotspot: Qantas Launches New Routes From The SA Capital

Adelaide is emerging as a clear winner after Qantas launched a swathe of new routes from the South…

Adelaide Hotspot: Qantas Launches New Routes From The SA Capital

Adelaide is emerging as a clear winner after Qantas launched a swathe of new routes from the South Australian capital. East Coast lockdowns and travel restrictions are forcing Australia’s airlines to look outside their usual comfort zones to generate business. Smaller capitals like Adelaide are the beneficiaries.

Qantas has recently launched three new E190 routes from Adelaide. Photo: Lila Design

Qantas launched Adelaide – Townsville route in mid-September

Also enjoying the benefits of new flights are the airports are the other end of new routes out of Adelaide. Townsville, Cairns, and Hobart have all welcomed new Qantas flights from Adelaide recently.

Townsville is Australia’s 11th busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers. The airport saw its first new interstate route in almost a decade when Qantas launched nonstop Adelaide – Townsville – Adelaide flights in mid-September.

The sole operator on the 1,194 mile (1,921 kilometer) route, Qantas is now flying its wet-leased Embraer E190 regional jets to Townsville three times a week.

“It is really exciting to celebrate the start of a new route – particularly as other interstate markets remain closed,” says Townsville Airport General Manager Brendan Cook. Queensland Airports Limited, owner of Townsville Airport, along with Adelaide Airport, the South Australian Government all offered “support” to get this route up and running.


Qantas takes on competitor airlines flying Adelaide – Cairns sector

On the weekend, Cairns welcomed its first direct Qantas flight from Adelaide. Jetstar and Virgin Australia already fly the 1,321 mile (2,126 kilometer) sector. However, Qantas clearly thinks there is room for three operators.

On Saturday, Qantas kicked off the first of what will be four weekly return flights between Adelaide and Cairns using Embraer E190 aircraft.

“Our seat capacity for Adelaide has grown by 80% since 2019, and that’s a direct reflection of the demand for travel between the two regions,” said Cairns Airport’s Chief Operating Officer Garry Porter on the weekend.

“We now have five thousand seats a week between Cairns and Adelaide, and this route is now very well serviced. Without visitors from NSW and Victoria, South Australia is our key interstate market driving visitation to our region.”

Qantas acknowledges the support of Adelaide Airport and the South Australian Government in launching this new route to far north Queensland.

Qantas is using wet-leased E190 regional jets on all three new routes. Photo: Lila Design

Qantas sends the E190 to Hobart

Also starting last week was Qantas’ new service between Adelaide and the Tasmanian capital of Hobart. Like Adelaide, Hobart has benefited from the fresh focus from airlines on smaller capital cities. In pre-pandemic days, only one operator (Jetstar) flew this route. Now there are two operators, and Virgin Australia will commence flights in October.

Again utilizing Embraer E190 aircraft, daily QantasLink Adelaide-Hobart-Adelaide flights began on Friday. All three new routes deliberately bypass the locked-down cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Usually, Qantas would choose to connect passengers flying these sectors via these cities. Now, while these new nonstop flights bring much-needed tourists into centers like Cairns, they also benefit Adelaide.

“These new flights will also help bring more visitors to Adelaide, which will be great for the economy with flow-on benefits for local businesses,” says QantasLink’s John Gissing.

All three new routes are operating with support, particularly from Adelaide Airport and the South Australian Government. Precisely what the support is, Qantas isn’t saying, but holidays and/or concessions on landing fees, airport taxes, and state-based charges are all obvious starting points.

Like John Gissing, stakeholders like Adelaide Airport must figure the benefits of the new flights will outweigh the costs.

Source : Simple Flying More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.