Cathay Pacific staff rewarded with record bonus

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways announced a windfall for its staff, showering them with a bonus equal to 7.2 weeks’ pay.

The airline revealed today a staggering net profit of HK$9.79 billion (approximately 44 billion baht) for last year, alongside plans to bolster its workforce by 20%, hiring an additional 5,000 personnel. Cathay Pacific also delighted shareholders by declaring its first dividend payout since 2019.

Chairman Patrick Healy attributed this remarkable financial feat to a surge in demand post-Covid travel restrictions, particularly after Hong Kong and mainland China eased international travel constraints in early 2023. Revenue soared by 85%, reaching HK$94.5 billion, propelled by a resurgence in travel appetite and escalating ticket prices. Operating profit witnessed a staggering threefold increase to HK$15.1 billion, outstripping the previous record set in 2010.

“In 2023, we finally left the Covid-19 pandemic behind us.”

The announcement sparked a more than 6% surge in Cathay’s stock price, catapulting it to its highest since February 2020.

Despite grappling with a HK$6.6 billion loss in 2022 and benefiting from a HK$5-billion pandemic rescue package led by the Hong Kong government, Cathay Pacific remains bullish about its future. It aims to resume 80% of pre-pandemic passenger flights by the second quarter of 2024 and attain full restoration by the first quarter of 2025.

However, the carrier faced challenges in ramping up capacity due to prolonged quarantine regulations and the necessity to recruit additional staff. Staff shortages forced the airline to scale back flights, exacerbating a global disparity between flight supply and travel demand, consequently driving ticket prices and airline yields skyward, reported Bangkok Post.

Cathay CEO Ronald Lam asserted that the airline anticipates this imbalance to taper off and yields to stabilise throughout 2024 as airlines globally expand their capacity.

In related news, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) confirmed that six airlines will introduce 104 additional flights, offering a discount of approximately 20% for early morning and late night domestic flights during the Songkran holiday. This move is designed to offer a more economical travel option for holidaymakers.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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