Should you avoid Cathay Pacific Airlines for your summer travel?

Cathay Pacific may not have any pilots left to operate a flight operation of this Hong Kong-based airline carrier.

Should you avoid Cathay Pacific Airlines for your summer travel?

Cathay Pacific may not have any pilots left to operate a flight operation of this Hong Kong-based airline carrier.

Business travelers and leisure passengers on Cathay Pacific Airlines may have their summer holiday flights disrupted after talks between Cathay Pacific and its pilots broke down.

The Hong Kong Aircrew Officers’ Association says cockpit crew may work to rule, known as contract compliance, during the peak travel period in July unless the bitter stalemate is resolved. The union declared an impasse and called for mediation on Friday after successive rounds of pay talks failed.

If mediation fails, pilots are entitled to work to rule under the terms of its “good faith bargaining framework agreement” with bosses, union sources say.

Cathay insisted yesterday it was “committed” to reaching a deal on pay and livelihood issues under discussion since last year, when a previous three-year deal expired. A management source also pointed out that the airline had managed to operate normally during previous work-to-rule protests by pilots.

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A source close to the talks said any decision to work to rule was “some distance down the line”, but that the impasse made industrial action more likely.

The union is concerned about a proposal to reduce the number of pilots on some long-haul routes from Europe from four to three. They claim it’s a safety issue.

The company’s spokeswoman said the smaller crews were “in line with the standard practice of other carriers” and would “involve only a small number of flights.”

Pilots’ frustration has intensified after Cathay reached a pay agreement with cabin crew and other staff earlier this year.

Cathay is understood to have had a pay offer of about 4 per cent rejected by the pilots. In a statement, it said four week-long negotiating sessions had taken place since November, covering pay, rostering, allowances, housing and basing. It said more talks were scheduled.

The two sides now have four weeks to agree on the identities of the mediators, after which three days of mediation will take place.

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