Whereas this has been within the works for fairly a while, it’s the top of an period at Cathay Pacific. As famous by Danny Lee at Bloomberg, the airline not has any overseas pilot bases. Not solely do I really feel unhealthy for all of the pilots and their households who’ve been impacted by this resolution, however I can’t assist however really feel unhappy about this, because it sort of symbolically displays how Hong Kong isn’t fairly the worldwide metropolis it as soon as was.
Cathay Pacific not has foreign-based pilots
One of many issues that traditionally made Cathay Pacific distinctive was what number of overseas crew bases the Hong Kong-based airline had, each for flight attendants and pilots. If you happen to have been flying from many gateways in america, it wasn’t uncommon to have your complete crew (cockpit and cabin) be based mostly in america.
Sadly we’ve seen Cathay Pacific kind of take an axe to its overseas crew bases. Discussions of this already occurred pre-pandemic, when Hong Kong was dealing with protests that enormously decreased journey to the airport.
Nevertheless, the pandemic kind of introduced Cathay Pacific to a standstill, given the strict border restrictions that Hong Kong maintained for thus lengthy. One-by-one, Cathay Pacific has closed its overseas pilot bases, and that mission is now full.
As of November 1, 2022, Cathay Pacific not has any foreign-based pilots. Most not too long ago, Cathay Pacific shut down its pilot bases in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, which have been the final worldwide bases remaining.
Up to now couple of years we’ve additionally seen pilot bases closed in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the UK. This all follows Cathay Pacific closing all of its US flight attendant bases proper initially of the pandemic.
That is unhappy for pilots & their households
Clearly Cathay Pacific has been in an extremely powerful spot lately, and that even dates again to earlier than the pandemic. I can’t fault the airline for seeking to reduce prices.
In idea pilots are being given the chance to switch to Hong Kong, although that isn’t precisely a straightforward resolution. Most pilots have households, so there’s so much that goes into making a transfer like that.
That’s very true when you think about the uncertainty with this, because it’s anybody’s guess what Hong Kong will appear to be a decade from now.
I really feel unhealthy for the pilots on this state of affairs, particularly given the overall challenges with transferring round within the airline business. At most airways, pilots are paid based totally on seniority, so it’s not like a Cathay Pacific 777 captain of 20+ years can get a comparable job at American Airways — slightly they’d begin on the backside of the seniority checklist.
Cathay Pacific had over 100 pilots based mostly in america, and apparently 60+ of them have left the corporate. That’s unhappy.
It’s my understanding that this was all a value slicing initiative. I’m confused as as to whether the general compensation construction for US-based pilots was higher, or if it’s simply extra environment friendly by way of staffing to have one central pilot base. I’ve to think about it’s primarily the latter, as Hong Kong-based pilots have traditionally obtained large housing allowances, together with different perks.
I’ve all the time beloved Cathay Pacific’s overseas bases
Once I was a child it was my dream to develop into an airline pilot. Once I considered the airline I most wished to work for, Cathay Pacific was all the time primary on my checklist. Why?
- Not like most different overseas airways, Cathay Pacific had crew bases within the US, so you might be based mostly within the US whereas working for the airline
- Cathay Pacific employed 777 second officers (basically aid pilots on lengthy haul flights) with related expertise necessities to a primary officer place at a regional airline in america
- It’s a reasonably soft job to fly virtually completely between america and Hong Kong, as you principally work three or so roundtrips per 30 days after which max out your hours
- On the time Cathay Pacific was selling individuals from second officer all the way in which to captain in lower than 10 years, whereas being a large physique captain at a US airline usually takes 20+ years of seniority
Whereas I by no means ended up turning into an expert pilot, I nonetheless have nice respect for airline pilots, and specifically am fascinated by Cathay Pacific pilots. Traditionally, each time I board a Cathay Pacific flight I intently hearken to the announcement from the pilot, and love how worldwide the cockpit crews are.
In fact simply because a pilot had an American or Canadian accent didn’t imply they have been based mostly in america or Canada, as Cathay Pacific additionally has a number of Hong Kong-based expat pilot.
I’m unhappy that on future Cathay Pacific flights, there’ll not be the guessing sport of whether or not the pilots are based mostly in Hong Kong or not. In fact greater than something, I’m simply unhappy that so many of those nice pilots both left the airline, or needed to transfer their lives midway world wide.
Cathay Pacific has accomplished the method of closing all of its overseas pilot bases. Most not too long ago, the corporate’s three bases in america closed as of the top of October 2022. Whereas pilots have the choice of relocating to Hong Kong, that’s not a straightforward resolution to make, and that’s additionally why most pilots didn’t take up that chance.
Better of luck to all the good Cathay Pacific pilots who received us safely throughout the Pacific over time, and are actually pursuing completely different alternatives.
What do you make of Cathay Pacific closing its overseas pilot bases?