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Cathay Pacific General Manager Inflight Services’ message to staff on new swapping guidelines

16 Mar 2010

In response to media enquiries on new swapping guidelines for Cathay Pacific cabin crew, the airline’s General Manager Inflight Services today sent out a memo to clarify the situation. The full text of the memo is included below.

Breaking News – March 17, 2010

In CCNL this week we mentioned two new swapping guidelines. The guidelines have led to a good deal of discussion amongst crew, and some misunderstandings, so I would like to make some clarifications.

It is important to remember that the minimum guarantee of 70 credit hours was introduced to protect you from business downturns. This served us well during during SARS when crew hours fell to as low as 20.

Crew on minimum guarantee of 70 credit hours per month are normally rostered for 80-83 flying hours per month, and have the flexibility to swap flights up to five times per month.

You have consistently told us that control over your rosters is very important to you. ISD appreciates and understands this. We are working towards increasing your swapping flexibility. We have been reviewing the present swap system to move towards our ultimate goal of unlimited swapping.

The review showed that some crew are consistently swapping below the minimum guarantee. Some crew swap well below the guarantee - as low as 10-30 flying hours per month - and still receive the minimum guarantee. This departs from the principles of swapping flexibility and minimum guarantee, and a restriction has been introduced to prevent it. It is unreasonable to expect the company to pay for hours not worked.

A very small minority of crew who swap below the minimum guarantee – less than 5 percent - will be affected by the new guidelines. The vast majority of crew will benefit from the related lifting of the restriction on more than nine consecutive days off.

The normal approval rate for swap applications is around 80 percent. Up to now, the approval rate has also been around 80 percent on the swapping applications for the April roster, which opened today at noon.

We do not believe that the new guidelines will affect your normal swapping practices. If the change we have just announced affects your normal swapping practices, we will promptly take up your concerns. If you have any difficulties in swapping as a result of this new rule, or for any other reason, please contact ISD#ENQ and you will receive immediate assistance.

Finally, let me emphasize again, we do not want to restrict your normal swapping above the minimum guarantee, and I appreciate your feedback.

Sincerely, Charlie Stewart-Cox, GMISD