Pilots' perspective on financial woes of Cathay Pacific, once regarded as Hong Kong's own

To get a different perspective on what is causing Cathay Pacific’s woes, we asked John Warham. Recently CX reported first-half losses of $2.05 billion. John is the former CX captain who gave the airline 10 years of legal nightmares. He was fired along with 48 other air crew during an industrial dispute.

Author and pilot John Warham

The management tried to make an example of its sacked staff, hoping to scare off the rest of the pilots. Instead, what they got was a legal battle waged by the fired crew that lasted for years and was fought in the courts of several countries. The story is chronicled in John’s book, The 49ers. It is a damn good read if you are interested in aviation. John is a former Sai Kung resident, who now lives in Koh Samui with his new bride, Klaske.

John and Klaske: The couple, both former Sai Kung residents, married recently and now live in Koh Samui

We asked John for his perspective on what is going wrong at Cathay Pacific in the current market conditions. Here is his reply:

I can do no better than give you a quotation from PPrune in response to the DFO’s latest Friday newsletter:

(PPrune is the pilots’ online chatroom. DFO refers to Cathay Pacific Director of Flight Operations Anna Thompson.)


Anna’s Friday Absurdity

Honestly, you cannot make this rubbish up. Her comment, “…it would have been only a tiny loss…” could have only been uttered by someone who is both a Swire sycophant and completely devoid of reality. Apparently, in Anna World, $2 BILLION loss on a single item is ‘tiny’. I suppose when compared to their bonuses…. Seriously, is this what passes for intellectual debate in this circus of a company today? Anna, let me clarity this for you: if we didn’t have to suffer,

a) Fuel Hedging Loss of 3.2 Billion (with a B)
b) Cash Hedge Loss of 4.0 Billion (with a B)
c) Cargo Cartel Fine of 0.5 Billion (with a B)
….we would have had a first half profit of close to $2 Billion ! Every SINGLE ONE OF THESE debacles have been due to YOUR management incompetence, arrogance and willful blindness as to what makes modern day airline management. Please, stop with the vacuous rhetoric which not a single person in this airline buys into any more. We ALL realise that the real problem in this company is the incestuous and incompetent Swire management. If you people had simply done NOTHING we would be healthy and profitable. The fact is that ALL of our problems are due to you and your ilk. The employees are not and will not be held responsible for your failings. We have kept this airline operationally profitable and healthy and safe. You, however, represent a cancer that is eating this company from the inside out. We will all expect our full 13th month. Many of us are ready to pull the plug, and the resignation and retirement of the operational staff is just getting started. Just go away. (And I might add that nearly every other airline in the world is enjoying healthy profits, increasing pay and benefits for their staff and NOT subjecting their employees to Alice in Wonderland nutcase newsletters.)

Video featuring Cathay Pacific Director of Flight Operations Anna Thompson

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