Cathay Pacific to close London pilot base

11 Sep 2021 by Mark Caswell
Gatwick's first Cathay Pacific flight taking off

Cathay Pacific has confirmed plans to close its London pilot base, and will review its remaining overseas pilot bases in the US.

Reuters reports that the London pilot base had been under review since this summer, and quotes the carrier as saying that “The decision is not one we have taken lightly and does not reflect on the professionalism of the pilots based in London”.

It has not been disclosed how many pilots will be affected by the decision, but Bloomberg reports that pilots will be offered the option of relocating to Hong Kong or taking redundancy.

Cathay has been particularly badly hit by global travel restrictions and plummeting demand as a result of Covid-19, and recently revealed that its July 2021 passenger numbers were still down over 98 per cent on pre-pandemic levels of July 2019.

Cathay Pacific’s July traffic still 98 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels

The news comes as the carrier gears up to celebrate its 75th anniversary later this month, with the launch of limited-edition memorabilia and first class dining experiences (on the ground).

Among the items on sale include 1,000 special collector’s box sets each featuring seven aircraft models, from the airline’s very first Douglas DC-3 aircraft, “Betsy”, to the newest member of its fleet, the Airbus A321neo.

There are also limited-edition pen and cardholder sets, aviation-themed luggage tags, and accessories and homeware items made from upcycled uniforms.

Cathay Pacific limited edition luggage tag

Customers keen to experience Cathay’s first class dining can also buy tickets for a series of events at Salisterra restaurant at The Upper House in Hong Kong, with “an exclusive celebration menu” including the carrier’s signature Imperial caviar paired with Krug Grande Cuvée, Champagne, France, NV and Château Lynch Bages, Bordeaux, France, 2008.

Memorabilia and dining experiences can be purchased via the Cathay online shopping channel.

Commenting on the celebrations chief executive officer Augustus Tang said:

“Cathay Pacific has seen exhilarating successes over the past incredible 75 years. We’ve connected people to many new destinations, welcomed the arrival of state-of-the-art aircraft and introduced exciting customer experience enhancements, to name a few.

“We have also experienced unprecedented challenges, such as the global pandemic, which we are all still overcoming. What these over seven decades have shown is that we are a resilient brand.

“What has never changed is our unyielding commitment to our loyal customers, our dedicated people and our wonderful home city, Hong Kong.

“We wouldn’t be the company we are today without the enduring support they have shown us, and we are incredibly grateful to each and every one of them. We hope they will join us in marking our 75th anniversary, and we look forward to many more journeys together.”

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