[photopress:air_dragonair.JPG,full,alignright]Hong Kong’s second-biggest airline, Dragonair (a wholly owned part of the Swire Group which owns Cathay Pacific) is being forced to cancel up to eight flights a day as pilots quit the airline in numbers which are larger than normal.
Six captains resigned within a week earlier this month, and 34 first officers or captains have handed in their notice in the last six months. These resignations are said to be linked to a dispute over rosters and pay.
Pilots says that a year after its $1.5-billion takeover by Cathay Pacific, cancellations by the airline, which flies to routes around China and the region, are running at a rate of two a day.
Pilots claim the resignations have been sparked by ‘bullying and intransigence.’ Anyone who has worked or negotiated with pilots will know that when it comes to ‘bullying and intransigence’ they hold the world crown. Not management, the pilots.
The pilots say management has repeatedly refused to implement rostering agreements to ease the strain on pilots handling a growing volume of flights.
Dragonair, which has around 400 mostly expatriate pilots and operates around 100 flights a day, said in a statement it was being impacted by a worldwide shortage of cockpit personnel.
A spokeswoman said the airline had already hired 57 new pilots this year and planned to hire 10 more before the end of the year and another 50 next year. She said, ‘There are currently more vacancies than there are pilots throughout the industry. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a degree of pilot turnover at Dragonair and many other airlines.’
Which is possibly true. But there is a major reshuffle happening in management at Dragonair.
Richard Hall, general manager of flying at Cathay Pacific Airways, has been appointed general manager of operations at Dragonair. He will replace Tim Watts, who will resume flying duties with Dragonair.
Dennis Leung, scheduling manager for integrated crew management at Cathay Pacific (he has been doing it for twenty years so he has the experience), has been appointed to a new post as manager of ICM at Dragonair, and will be responsible for crew planning, crew rostering and crew control.