Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has closed its last overseas base and brought some American pilots back to Hong Kong as the airline cuts costs after being hit hard by the pandemic.
Cathay’s U.S. pilot bases closed on Oct. 31 and some of the crew will move to Hong Kong in the coming weeks, according to an internal Bloomberg News report. More than 60 US-based employees are leaving the airline, the report said.
“There are no additional overseas pilot bases as we continue to review all areas of our business to ensure we have a focused, efficient and competitive business as we continue to build backward connectivity at the Hong Kong hub,” Cathay said in an emailed statement. A “number” of pilots have relocated to Hong Kong, it said.
The airline had pilot centers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Anchorage, a major cargo hub. It has already closed bases in the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia and New Zealand after Covid restrictions disrupted flight schedules.
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While Hong Kong has reopened its borders for quarantine-free travel, Cathay expects a full recovery to take at least two more years. The airline flew just 16% of its pre-pandemic passenger capacity in September, with Hong Kong still requiring testing on entry and Cathay’s most important market – mainland China – requiring a quarantine on entry, with an on-demand hold.
Cathay shares fell 4.2% in Hong Kong on Monday, their biggest drop in three weeks.