Cathay Pacific to send pilots to Dragonair for training

3 May 2016 by Clement Huang

Cathay Pacific is reportedly planning to send its second officer pilots to sister airline Dragonair for training, in the midst of an ongoing industrial dispute with its own pilots.

The Hong Kong-based carrier will take delivery of its first A350 later this month, but faces a worrying shortage of pilots qualified to fly the new aircraft.

As part of the ongoing industrial action, a “training ban” has been initiated by the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association, which has led to a shortage of instructors who are used to train junior pilots. 

Cathay Pacific faces a shortage of pilots qualified to man its soon-to-be-delivered Airbus A350

To get around the problem, Cathay Pacific is looking to send a number of its pilots to be trained to fly Dragonair’s A330 aircraft. As a widebody Airbus aircraft, the onboard systems on the A330 are similar to those found on the A350. Pilots who are A330-trained are able to fly the A350 too.

But speaking to the South China Morning Post, a Dragonair union source denounced the move, saying: “Cathay will use Dragonair to break the ban. Dragonair pilots don’t want to be ‘scabs’ breaking a dispute for another pilot group in the same company. Cathay could see more disruption rather than a solution.

“The pullback on [Dragonair’s] expansion has left a training capacity excess that will be exploited for the breaking of the training ban. Cathay has planned around eight to ten second officers to be trained each month for the next year or more.” 

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Clement Huang

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