|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||15 July 2008|
Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that it will align the retirement age for all its current Hong Kong-based cabin crew to 55 with immediate effect. The new arrangements were agreed at a meeting today between Cathay Pacific management and the airline's Flight Attendants' Union (FAU).
The alignment in retirement age will affect 5,000 Hong Kong-based cabin crew who joined after 1 July 1993, whose retirement age is 45. The retirement age for cabin crew who joined before 1 July 1993 is 55.
The change has been implemented following in-depth discussions with cabin crew working groups, including the FAU and the Cabin Crew Consultation Group. Under the new arrangement, all cabin crew who joined after 1993 will be able to choose to retire at any time between 45 and 55. All new joiners will retire at 55.
Commenting on the announcement, Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: "I am delighted that the company has taken the decision to align the retirement age of the Hong Kong-based cabin crew and I am pleased that the staff groups with whom we have consulted have welcomed this decision. In view of the difficulties facing the industry, the company's decision on alignment underlines the need for the company and our staff to pull together in the best interests of the airline and its continuing success."
Cathay Pacific Director Service Delivery Quince Chong said: "After thorough consultation with cabin crew groups, and having looked carefully at a range of issues and concerns affecting our crew community, we feel that now is the right time to align the retirement ages for our Hong Kong-based cabin crew. Aligning the retirement age will enable our cabin crew to better plan their career with the airline."
Cathay Pacific has undergone a significant expansion in recent years and operational requirements have changed in line with the airline's growth. Fifteen years ago the carrier employed around 4,300 cabin crew but today the airline employs more than 7,500 cabin crew. The airline is continuing with its aggressive recruitment and plans to take on 1,500 more cabin crew in 2008.
Cathay Pacific is an equal opportunity employer and age is not a factor in staff recruitment, training and promotion. In Hong Kong, the airline's retirement age policies are consistent with local laws. Aligning the retirement age is a complex issue that requires careful consideration.
"There were historical, practical and competitive reasons for setting the retirement age at 45 in 1993. Our decision to align the retirement age at 55 is based on the discussions that have taken place, together with wider considerations of the Company and we think the change is appropriate. I hope the crew community welcomes this positive news," said Ms Chong.
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