MIAMI – Hong Kong Airlines (HX) is planning to cut up to 50% of its workforce and temporarily ground passenger aircraft, operating cargo-only flights.

The move is an attempt to survive the ongoing economic woes in Asia due to COVID-19. As a result of ending passenger operations, all of HX’s Airbus A320 aircraft will be grounded. The airline is planning to concentrate on cargo flights instead, using only eight Airbus A330 aircraft.

Hong Kong Airlines also operates an Airbus A350XWB, which is not mentioned in the airline’s statement announcing the measure.

Hong Kong Airlines B-LGH Airbus A350-941. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways

Not the First Round of Cuts

Hong Kong Airlines reduced it’s workforce in 2020 by cutting 250 flight attendant positions, along with 400 other jobs in various positions. Also, some staff members have suffered pay reductions of up to 60%. Pilots have received warnings from the airline stating that work visas were not guaranteed to be renewed.

It was not mentioned if flight attendants will be cut, or how the move will impact ground operations, office staff, and other positions associated with the carrier. The Hong Kong-based airline operates in one of the most travel-restricted areas in the world.

Recovery in Southeast Asia has been slow due to the low COVID-19 vaccination rate and new outbreaks of the virus in the region.

Featured image: Hong Kong Airlines B-LNJ Airbus A330-243. Photo: LiamFunnell/Airways