Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways on Wednesday announced historic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The losses come despite the financial restructuring measures taken by the airline, including laying off staff and cutting salaries.
Losses rose to $2.8 billion in 2020 alone, the airline said in a statement, according to daily South China Morning Post, with its boss warning of continuing market challenges.
Patrick Healy, the chairman of the 70-year-old airliner, called the past 12 months “the most challenging” yet for Cathay, adding that the future remains unclear.
“Market conditions remain challenging and dynamic,” he said in a statement. “It is by no means clear how the pandemic and its impact will develop over the coming months.”
Last October, Cathay Pacific announced it was cutting nearly 6,000 jobs to survive the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All our cash preservation measures will continue unabated,” said Healy.
It said to survive its losses, it would make a historic cut of 8,500 jobs globally, including 5,300 in Hong Kong alone.
It also shut its low-cost Cathay Dragon brand.
The total jobs cuts include 2,600 unfilled posts. It was the biggest job cut by any company in Hong Kong since the 1980s.
The airline also said that of its 35,000 staff, 24% of roles “would be eliminated,” reducing its workforce.
Augustus Tang Kin-wing, Cathay Pacific’s CEO, also asked all employees to get vaccinated.
He added that inoculation campaigns would help bring about the lifting of travel restrictions.
Since the outbreak began in December 2019, Hong Kong has reported over 11,000 COVID-19 cases, including 202 deaths.
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