Cathay Pacific offers early retirement scheme to older pilots

Cathay Pacific has already taken short-term measures including executive pay cuts and two rounds of voluntary special leave scheme to cut costs. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 01 August 2020

Cathay Pacific offers early retirement scheme to older pilots

  • Cathay Pacific has already taken short-term measures including executive pay cuts and voluntary special leaves

HONG KONG: Cathay Pacific Airways said it will offer a voluntary scheme to its Hong Kong-based pilots who are approaching retirement age to leave the group early, in a continued effort to cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline said in an email to Reuters on Saturday it is looking at different ways to reduce costs in the medium term, given reduced passenger demand with no immediate signs of improvement. The retirement plan was first reported in local media.
Cathay has already taken short-term measures including executive pay cuts and two rounds of voluntary special leave scheme.
Pilots aged 50 or 55 and above, depending on the retirement age outlined in their contract as 55 or 65 respectively, are eligible to apply for the early retirement scheme, the carrier said. Pilots aged 58 and above at its regional arm Cathay Dragon are also eligible.
“The decision comes after careful consideration and is an effective way for the Group to manage costs. Addressing a specific group of employees for this dedicated scheme helps us adjust to the new operating environment,” the carrier said.
The scheme will pay pilots who retire early three months basic salary for each year remaining before their normal retirement age, plus a further one-month allowance payment up to a maximum of 12 months’ basic salary.
Cathay said management is doing a comprehensive review of all aspects of the group’s operations, and it will make recommendations to the board on the future size and shape of the airline by the fourth quarter.
The group was looking to cut costs, streamline marketing, consolidate pilot contracts and move veteran pilots to cheaper contracts, sources said.
Cathay last month warned it expected to report a HK$9.9 billion ($1.28 billion) loss for the six months ending June 30, including impairment charges on 16 planes. The estimated loss would be Cathay’s biggest half-yearly loss in at least a decade.


Virus hastens newspapers’ slide into shaky digital future

The disappearance of newspapers deals out additional pain throughout the production chain, taking in printers, paper makers and delivery people. (AFP)
Updated 1 min 11 sec ago

Virus hastens newspapers’ slide into shaky digital future

  • Getting papers to readers is a challenge, worsening a decline in advertising

PARIS: The coronavirus crisis has weighed heavily on print newspapers already battling for survival around the world, with the number of copies sold tumbling while less profitable digital readerships surge.

Simply delivering printed papers to the shops — or having customers come in to buy them — has become a challenge, worsening the decline in sales and advertising revenue.
“Consumption of printed newspapers has fallen as lockdowns undermine physical distribution, almost certainly accelerating the shift to an all-digital future,” the Reuters Institute’s 2020 annual report said.
Major dailies in Brazil and Mexico have already switched to online-only or dropped some days’ editions, while in the Philippines 10 of the 70 newspapers in the PPI association have shuttered.
“Times are hard. There are no advertisers and no-one is reading us,” PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino said. The archipelago nation’s small local newspapers were hardest hit during lockdown as street sales tumbled. “The industry is under siege and we’ve all taken bruises,” Sebellino said.
Far from affecting only journalists, the disappearance of print papers deals out pain all up the production chain, taking in printers, paper makers and delivery people.
Major British media brands could boast of 6.6 million new online readers in the first quarter in what their industry association said was a new record. But most have not seen the same bounce in print sales. The coronavirus has become “the greatest threat to the global news industry since the 2008 economic crash” wrote industry publication Press Gazette — which itself moved online-only in 2013.

FASTFACT

Between 2005 and 2018, some 250 local papers closed across Britain.

Between 2005 and 2018, some 250 local papers closed across Britain, while today one in three journalists’ jobs are believed to be under threat. The picture is similar in the US, where dozens of papers have closed or merged with local competitors since the crisis. Between 2008 and 2019, half of all workers in American newspapers lost their jobs, according to a Pew institute count.
Around the world, audiences have melted away for the free sheets once handed out in busy urban centers. Unable to count on funding
from advertisers, some have paused publication, including Metro or Destak in Brazil or France’s 20 Minutes.
With its aging population used to holding a paper in their hands, Germany’s newspaper publishers “were all making money before the coronavirus crisis, even if circulation figures kept falling,” said Frank Ueberall, president of the DJV journalists’ federation.
“Things are different now,” but “text journalism still has good days ahead,” Ueberall said. “Old people in particular are far from adopting digital technologies en masse.”
“Printing is expensive, but it’s swings and roundabouts,” said Gilles Dechamps, head of a printing company in northern Paris, arguing that “it’s important for readers and for advertisers to have the landmark” of a printed paper.”
Despite efforts such as cutting their size to save paper or investing in the web over the past 30 years, few papers have found the winning formula to make money from 21st-century journalism.
“Even in the smallest markets, Facebook and Google syphon three-quarters of the digital revenue,” said Penelope Abernathy, a former Wall Street Journal and New York Times vice president who now teaches media economics at the University of North Carolina. “That leaves all other legacy media fighting for the digital scraps.”