Hong Kong Airlines announced on Friday (29 November) that it was delaying payment of some salaries because of financial difficulties that have hit the carrier as traffic to and from the special administrative region continues to slide in the face of severe social unrest and violence that has plagued Hong Kong for the past six months. The airline said in a statement that “with the exception of cabin crew and overseas staff who will be paid on time, Hong Kong Airlines has arranged the payment of November 2019 salary to other Hong Kong-based staff on 6 December 2019. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to our employees.”
The airline said its business has been “severely affected by the social unrest in Hong Kong and a sustained weak travel demand. With November being a low travel season, our revenue has dipped significantly, impacting our payroll for the month”. The airline added that the salary delay is a “arrangement (that) does not impact our daily operation. Our staff remains professional and are committed to delivering a safe and smooth service to all our customers”. Hong Kong Airlines announced earlier that it was cutting back on some routes including Los Angeles-bound flights from February.
The airline is not the only one affected by the violence in Hong Kong and the cutback in people travelling there. Cathay Pacific has also adjusted its route schedule and earlier this year saw its CEO, chairman and other top officials resign their jobs after coming under extreme pressure from China. Officials in Beijing had criticised Cathay and threatened its business after Cathay said it would not clamp down employees who supported anti-government, pro-democracy protesters.