A COALITION of local unions and pressure groups yesterday called for a worldwide boycott of Cathay Pacific in support of the airline staffs' grievances even though most staff had returned to work. Coalition representatives handed out posters and stickers in Central calling for the public and the travel industry to boycott the airline and its package tours. They called on Cathay passengers to file complaints with the Civil Aviation Department about the airline following its dispute with staff or petition management in support of staff. The coalition members also said they had requested overseas aviation industry unions to refuse refuelling, cleaning and delivering planes, and cooking inflight meals for Cathay. The coalition is made up of more than 30 unions and pressure groups claiming a membership of more than 200,000 in support of Cathay staff and opposing the management's intention of taking disciplinary action against strike leaders. Analysts say Cathay has lost more than money in the 16-day strike and even if the call for a boycott has no effect, the airline would take time to recover its pre-strike market share. They said the treatment of strikers had cast a negative light on the company and could benefit some of Cathay's regional competitors in the short term. But in the long-term, the territory's flag carrier would likely weather the storm given its strong track record. A travel industry analyst projected a loss of $160 million for Cathay during the strike based on an estimated loss of $10 million per day. Company officials acknowledged that daily losses were as high as $15 million at the start of the strike but losses were reduced as more staff went back to work. The company also chartered 210 flights to help maintain its schedule during the Lunar New Year. Cathay lost an estimated 10 per cent of its normal New Year customers because of the strike, but traffic flow was largely unaffected by the strike, he said. Cathay spokesman Ms Jane Cowe said the company hoped operations would return to normal by Monday after 90 per cent of striking workers registered for next month's roster by yesterday's deadline. Merrill Lynch airline analyst, Mr Hui Choon-ho, said the airline industry was in the doldrums and all Asian carriers were reviewing their operations. Despite a profitable short-haul market throughout Asia, the carriers must respond to changes in North America and Europe where international carriers were being hit by the recession. Dr Ernest Martin, a senior lecturer in communications at Baptist College, said: ''Seen through the eyes of the media, the company has a public relations crisis of course, but it's a crisis that you can predict to happen in any labour relations dispute. ''Public sympathy in Hongkong lies more with companies and the stability of those companies, but the mood is switching. If the company is acting too harshly, then opinions will shift against them.'' Meanwhile, the chairman of John Swire and Sons Group (UK) Sir Adrian Swire has been visiting the territory this week. A Cathay spokesman said Sir Adrian was here on Swire business and did not intervene in the strike.