|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||24 April 2009|
Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that some 14,000 staff from Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, representing around 70% of the airlines' total worldwide workforce, have agreed to join the Special Leave Scheme - one of a series of measures introduced to help preserve cash in the face of a serious downturn in business.
Staff were invited to give their consent to the scheme, in which the equivalent of one to four weeks' salary will be deducted depending on the level of seniority, starting from Monday, 20 April. In the first five days of Special Leave Scheme enrolment, the breakdown of the response rate among different staff groups in Cathay Pacific is as follows:
|Hong Kong ground staff|
Hong Kong-based cabin crew
The response has also been very encouraging in overseas offices, with the majority of countries already reporting consent rates of between 70% and 100%. Sister airline Dragonair has also reported a good response, with around 80% of ground staff and cabin crew responding positively and 55% of pilots giving their consent.
The airline has announced that it will extend the deadline for giving consent to the Special Leave Scheme from Thursday, 30 April to midnight on Sunday, 10 May (Hong Kong time). This decision has been taken in order to allow flying crew on roster duty, as well as staff already on leave or on other company duty travel, more time in which to consider the details of the scheme before giving their consent.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: "We are very encouraged by the response so far for the Special Leave Scheme. This is an important initiative that will greatly help in efforts to preserve cash in the midst of the current downturn, and I would like to thank all those who already given consent to join the scheme. In extending the deadline, we recognise that some of our staff will need more time to absorb the information and consider the facts before giving consent."
The Special Leave Scheme is one of a raft of measures announced by Cathay Pacific on 17 April to help reduce costs in response to a 22.4% fall in turnover in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year. The airline is also reducing its passenger capacity by 8% and cargo capacity by 11% starting from May in addition to parking more two more freighters. The Special Leave Scheme is a four-tier, top-down arrangement in which top management and senior staff are being asked to contribute more.
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