Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union said their members agree to go on unpaid leave for up to a year to keep their jobs.

Although a survey of the union's 7,000 members indicated that the majority wanted an early retirement or voluntary redundancy scheme, the workers agreed to be furloughed in case the employer does not offer a better solution.

“To our members, that means they can still go back to flying when the situation gets better,” union’s Vice-chairperson Amber Suen said in an interview to Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK. “Once the demand comes back, they only need to go on training to revalidate their license and then they can go back flying… They don’t have to apply for their job [and] go through the whole interview process again.”

On September 24, 2020, Cathay Pacific Airways announced that the airline is overstaffed by 6,800 workers, which includes 5,000 flight attendants, in addition to 1,200 pilots and 600 ground crew. 

Hong Kong flag carrier said it will not apply for the second round of the government aid, allowing itself to reduce the workforce since the beginning of October. 

In August 2020, after reporting half-year net loss of 9.9 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.2 billion) Cathay (0293) said it does not expect “meaningful recovery” any time soon.

As Cathay Pacific Airways is trying to preserve cash by delaying some aircraft deliveries, a new health policy unveiled by the government of Hong Kong towards U.S. citizens could add to its troubles.