Cathay Pacific asks 27,000 staff to take unpaid leave as coronavirus crisis worsens

Cathay Pacific is asking its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave.


Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, is asking its 27,000 employees to take up to three weeks of unpaid leaveΒ to help it cope with the impact of the coronavirus.


The airlineΒ endured months of turmoil throughout 2019 as anti-government protests hit the Hong Kong travel industry hard.


Now with the coronavirus outbreak, Cathay Pacific has announced there has been a “significant” drop in demand for flights.


So much so, that the carrier has cutΒ flights to mainland China by 90% as well as major reductions elsewhere in its network.


The airline says it plans to cut worldwide services by about 30% over the next two month.


In a statement, Cathay Pacific said: “In view of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and also significant drop in market demand, we just announced massive capacity cuts yesterday.


“Preserving cash is the key to protecting our business. We have already been taking multiple measures to achieve this.


“Today, we are appealing to all employees to participate in the special leave scheme, which will take effect from 1 March and last until 30 June. All employees will have the option to take three weeks of unpaid leave in this period.”


The number of coronavirus cases in China now exceeds 25,000, with over 500 deaths reported.