Union hopes 'world's best airline' will reward staff

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 4:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 4:23am

The flight attendants' union of the city's flagship airline hopes its ranking as the "world's best airline" will boost its business and lead to a fairer share of rewards for frontline staff.

Cathay Pacific won the accolade in the latest World Airline Survey from London-based consultancy Skytrax. It is the fourth time in little over a decade the survey has put Cathay top.

The findings were based on a poll of more than18 million passengers from 160 countries, carried out between August and May.

Cathay Pacific came out on top of the 245 full-service and low-cost airlines covered.

It is the fourth time since the survey began in 2001 that the award has gone to the carrier; it previously won in 2003, 2005 and 2009. Qatar Airways ranked second, closely followed by Singapore Airlines and Emirates.

Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union vice-chairman Julian Yau Chi-hung said he was happy about the win but hoped the airline could be more generous in distributing its gains.

"We are happy about this as it is a team effort," Yau said. "But I hope if business grows, they will share more of the success with employees and not neglect the hard work of their frontline staff."

Industrial action was averted at Christmas after cabin crew accepted a 4.5 per cent pay rise. Improved pay was also offered to pilots last month in a bid to stave off a summer work-to-rule protest.

Cathay Pacific chief executive Ivan Chu Kwok-leung said network development would remain a key focus, with flights to Manchester launching in December and a new service to Zurich beginning in March.

The airline had been able to weather industry challenges, such as low passenger yields and ticket prices, according to Andrew Orchard, an aviation analyst for CIMB Securities. He added that future challenges would likely be from the competition - low-cost and rival mainland carriers that would push down prices and yields.

The airline tripled its net profit last year to HK$2.62 billion, largely on the back of savings in fuel costs and a slight improvement in passenger yields.