On April 22, 2021, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific said it would close pilot bases in Canada as well as look into proposals to shut down Australian and New Zealand pilot bases.
“We have provided notice to Canadian based crew of our decision to close the Canadian base,” Cathay Pacific spokesperson told AeroTime News.
The decision to close the Canadian cockpit crew base is final, while the Australian and New Zealand base shut downs are yet to be finalized. “This is just a proposal at this stage. No decisions have yet been made with regards to Australia and New Zealand,” read Cathay Pacific’s statement.
Additionally, Hong Kong’s flag carrier would also review European and the United States pilot bases later in 2021, South China Morning Post reported, citing insider sources close to the matter.
Cathay Pacific, which lacks a domestic market and suffers from low international air travel demand, reported a substantial decrease in passenger traffic numbers – a slump of 94% in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2020.
According to Cathay Pacific, continuous travel restrictions and quarantine measures for Hong Kong-based aircrews reflected the substantial airline’s capacity reduction, as earlier in February 2021, Cathay Pacific introduced strict rotation procedures under which its crew members were required to complete 21-day shifts and take almost a month’s break afterward.