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Cabin crew roster for Cathay Pacific late night turnaround flights explained

12 May 2012

Safety is Cathay Pacific Airways’ number one priority and all our operational arrangements, including cabin crew roster arrangements, are designed to ensure that safety is not compromised.

Cabin crew’s flight hours are also regulated by Civil Aviation Department and we are obliged to plan crew’s flight rosters in accordance with their requirements. At the same time, we also take into consideration the crew’s lifestyle needs.

At present, Cathay Pacific operates only a few late night turnaround flights out of our about 200 scheduled flights every day. With about 9,000 crew members in services, our current arrangement is that no cabin crew will be rostered for more than one such turnaround flights per month.

For crew who have been assigned to operate late night turnaround flights, the airline also adopts a special roster arrangement with more rest time than the legally required to ensure sufficient rest for the operating crew.

The late night turnaround flights usually involve flight hours of 3.45 to 4.45 hours with a ground stop of 1.5 hours in between. Before the flight duty, the operating crew will be rostered around a rest period of some 20 hours. On their return to Hong Kong in the morning, they will have the rest of the day off plus a full day off the following day. Even for individual crew members who choose to swap away their day off, they will still have the minimum rest as required by the regulatory authorities.

Our 9,000 cabin crew members have many different preferences for lifestyle choices. Some prefer long haul flights that allow them to experience other cultures; while some prefer late night turnaround duties that allow them to be at home with their families or pursue continued education during the day.

Cathay Pacific understands that crew have different preferences on flight patterns to suit their lifestyles. The airline already has a mechanism in place that allows crew to swap their flight duty. We try as much as possible to offer our cabin crew flexibility with their rosters.

Recently, members of the Cathay Pacific management team accompanied the crew on the late night turnaround flights to experience firsthand such flight duty. Subsequent to that, the airline initiated some enhancements to further lighten the workload for crew. For example, the Inflight Services Manager may give discretionary rest breaks to crew and an additional crew is assigned to assist with duty free sales.