Axed staff offered compensation and screening for similar positions at Cathay Nearly 200 Dragonair staff will be made redundant under a $30 million compensation package following the airline's acquisition by Cathay Pacific, which was completed yesterday. All 191 job losses, involving 174 local and 17 foreign staff, were from cargo, engineering, information management and the finance department. Cockpit and cabin crew were not affected. Dragonair's new chief executive, Kenny Tang Kwok-kit, said the airline, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, had no plans for further staff reshuffles in the near future. But it has yet to be decided if Dragonair's handling agent, Hong Kong International Airport Services (HIAS), will combine with Cathay's agent, the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (Haeco). The two cargo handlers have overlapping routes to Europe and the United States. 'There is some overlapping, but our cargo business focuses mainly on the mainland, while Europe and the US comprise only a small part of our business. Nevertheless if an integration is beneficial to the public, we will soon make a decision on whether the two should be combined,' Mr Tang said. A HIAS staff member, who did not want to be named, said there were rumours that some permanent jobs might be changed to contract positions in the event of a consolidation. However, mass redundancies were not likely because daily freight volume was high and HIAS had recently hired extra manpower to cope with the rising cargo turnover. Dragonair staff who received redundancy letters were given the chance to be screened for more than 100 comparable positions and 46 new openings with Cathay Pacific which were previously frozen. Dragonair said some of its office-based staff had already been offered jobs while others would be screened for the vacancies today. Mr Tang said staff who accepted the job transfers would be allowed to transfer their pension contributions and would receive comparable salary packages, while those who declined the offers would receive an extra month's salary. 'It is a difficult and painful decision to make, but to express our gratitude for our staff's hard work over the years, we are offering a separation package well in excess of legal requirements.' The 191 staff will receive two-thirds of their last monthly salary, multiplied by their years of service with a minimum of not less than two months and no maximum ceiling. They will also receive a pro-rata annual bonus, one-month's pay in lieu of notice and provident fund contributions. Under the package, a middle-ranking staff member with a monthly income of $30,000 will be offered compensation of $398,580, nearly three times more than the statutory requirements. The airline has also hired a company to provide career counselling for those made redundant.