Hong Kong Airlines blames protests for salary delay

Carrier says business has been "severely impacted" by the social unrest that has plagued Hong Kong for the past six months.

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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.

(PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

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.

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Matt Driskill
Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Singapore. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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