Updates [3rd March]: SCMP has confirmed that Cathay will be resuming the courses and has apologies to the Cadet Pilots.
First reported by SCMP, Cathay Pacific will be suspending several flight training courses in Adelaide will be temporarily suspended until further notice.
Affecting nearly 100 cadet pilots, they will be returning to Hong Kong as early as this week. Some of these pilots are about five months into their fifty-five week training course.
Seven training courses which began earlier in 2019 will continue; while courses that have yet to begin will be postponed.
It costs Cathay around HK$1 million ($129,000) to train a cadet pilot. These cadets, who are not yet officially an employee of Cathay, have no pilot’s license or steady income.
In the past couple of weeks, Cathay Pacific has asked 27,000 employees to take 3 weeks unpaid leave; they have also temporarily closed three of their premium lounges at Hong Kong International Airport.
Earlier today, SCMP also reported that Cathay has trimmed three-quarters of their weekly flights in March; around half of their fleet is idling at Hong Kong International Airport.
Jeremy Tam Man-ho, a former Cathay Dragon pilot, highlighted that this suspension will impact Cathay’s further expansion and aircraft deliveries.
As of November 2019, the airline is expecting to retire 10 old aircraft and take delivery of 17 aircraft this year. The airline should be negotiating over delayed delivery at the present state.
“If Cathay needs to make that decision, it’s definitely in deep trouble in terms of operations and cash flow” said Mr Tam.