Cathay Pacific Airways today expressed disappointment at the vote taken by the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers` Association (HKAOA) to reintroduce contract compliance or “work to rule”. The airline believes this is not helpful to the company or the pilots. However it does not anticipate this will lead to any disruption to its operations.
Cathay Pacific`s Director Corporate Development Tony Tyler said: “We are disappointed the HKAOA has resorted to imposing contract compliance. This will mean some lifestyle changes to pilots` rosters but work to rule in itself need not result in any adverse impact to our customers. Contract compliance was in place from 1996 to 1999 and we maintained normal operations throughout this period.”
Cathay Pacific is currently going through a period of rapid expansion. The airline will take delivery of 12 new aircraft between now and September next year, and is in the process of adding 1,400 extra staff including 220 new pilots. More than 150 pilots have already been recruited and an intensive training programme is underway.
The airline recognises the extra efforts that many staff are making during this period.
Mr Tyler said: “We appreciate that many staff are working extremely hard, including pilots, and we would like to thank them for their contribution to the company`s long-term development.”
Since agreeing to a three-year salary repackaging deal with its pilots last June, Cathay Pacific has been negotiating new roster practises with the HKAOA. These include introducing lifestyle improvements for pilots and monthly overtime payments.
Regular meetings have been held and considerable progress has been achieved. However the issue is highly complex and inextricably linked to the new Flight Time Limitations legislation being finalised under the auspices of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department.
Cathay Pacific is optimistic that new roster practices can be finalised this summer and an agreement reached on levels of overtime pay. However there is still a significant amount of work to be done and the HKAOA`s deadline of 11 July is unrealistic.
The airline understands the importance of roster practises to the lifestyle of its pilots, yet it also has to balance the need to maintain its long-term competitiveness and to continue meeting the needs of the travelling public.
Mr Tyler said: “We are committed to finding the best way to implement new roster practises with reasonable levels of overtime pay as soon as possible.”