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Statement on Pilots Pay Issue by Tony Tyler

06 Jul 2001


Statement on Pilots¡¦ Pay Issue By Tony Tyler
Director Corporate Development, Cathay Pacific Airways
Friday, 6 July 2001, 5:00pm

- Thank you once again for coming. Our sincere apologies for calling all of you out during the typhoon yesterday. Fortunately the weather is looking a bit better now.

- There are a number of issues we would like to brief you on today ¡V both on Typhoon Utor and the AOA¡¦s Hong Kong disruption campaign.

Typhoon Utor

- Firstly on the natural typhoon. As a responsible airline, safety is always our first priority. Based on information from the Hong Kong Observatory, we decided it would be prudent to defer or cancel a number of our flights while Typhoon Utor was in close proximity to Hong Kong. We took the decision to suspend flights as a precautionary measure, both because of the expected severity of the typhoon and also because of the ongoing impact of the AOA¡¦s Hong Kong disruption plan.

- We cancelled a total of 14 flights yesterday and a further 28 flights today. Our flights out of Hong Kong resumed at 12:20pm today. Our incoming flights resumed at 1:51pm. We are making use of the aircraft we have chartered to operate a number of regional services to help speed the recovery.

- As of 4pm today, we had operated a total of 42 flights. We aim to operate another 83 flights this evening. A total of 12,100 passengers were affected by the delays and cancellations over the two days.

- We do apologise for the inconvenience that these delays have caused to passengers. We are making every effort to get them to their destinations as soon as we can. We expect to gradually recover and quickly reestablish our full schedule.

Delays

- At the same time of course, we still need to respond to the ongoing impact of the AOA¡¦s Hong Kong disruption plan. While the impact of the natural typhoon has somewhat obscured the situation, it sadly appears the number of AOA induced delays is increasing.

- Of the flights originally scheduled for yesterday, a total of 72 were delayed by more than 15 minutes. This compares to a total of 45 the day before. A number of these delays appear to have been caused by the AOA¡¦s disruption plan. At the same time we are seeing an increase in the number of pilots reporting sick. This is a worrying trend, particularly if this is a sign of escalating industrial action by the union.

What the dispute is about

- In closing I would just like to remind everyone what this dispute is about. We are in the middle of a three-year signed agreement with the pilots¡¦ union. This agreement has only run for two years and there is still a year to run.

- Yet the union has seen fit to make demands for salary increases and benefit improvements of up to 32%. Such demands are completely unrealistic and out of touch with the realities facing the Hong Kong economy. All this in a week when layoffs and redundancies are making the headlines again.

- We spent 18 months negotiating in good faith. We made the union a very generous offer of pay rises of up to 10.5% in addition to improvements in benefits, overtime pay, and rostering. Regrettably the union rejected this offer without even referring it to its members.

- For the sake of the airline, and Hong Kong, I hope the union leadership will call off its misguided industrial action. Our pilots are among the best in the world. All we are asking of them is to continue doing the excellent job they have always done.

- Once again thank you very much for attending. After Alan has spoken, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.