Cathay Pacific has confirmed the closure of its London pilot base with affected staff to be offered relocation to Hong Kong or redundancy, local media has reported, citing a company statement. The airline said London-based pilots have not flown since April 2020. The announcement follows similar decisions to shutter the airline’s pilot bases in Australia, Canada, Germany, and New Zealand. The reports said it is reviewing the future of its remaining overseas pilot bases including in the U.S. later in the year. Cathay closes London base and parts with unvaccinated staff.

“The decision is not one we have taken lightly and does not reflect on the professionalism of the pilots based in London,” the airline said.  Cathay Pacific reported in July a fall of over 98 percent in passenger numbers from the corresponding 2019 month, before the pandemic hit, due to tight border controls. However, its air cargo business has performed better than before the pandemic. In HY1, the airline reported a HK$7.564 billion net loss.

Cathay Pacific has also announced this week that it has decided to “part ways,” with a small number of flight-crew who did not get vaccinated and couldn’t produce a medical exemption in lieu. “Today we decided to part company with a small number of aircrew who had decided not to receive either of the two available COVID-19 vaccines and had not provided proof of medical exemption,” Hong Kong’s largest airline said in a statement.

According to reports, the airline sent out letters to unvaccinated staff last week, asking why they had not been vaccinated yet or hadn’t provided an explanation when asked previously by the company. “As a result, the company will now take steps to terminate your employment,” the letter said.

In both cases, it was not confirmed how many jobs were affected.

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Maggie Koh
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