As Cathay Pacific pilots embarked on a work-to-rule action yesterday, the airline avoided a similar Christmas slowdown by its cabin crew members when their union accepted a pay rise of 4.5 per cent for most employees. The airline said yesterday that it would offer the 4.5 per cent increase to more than 90 per cent of its cabin crew and ground staff for next year. Senior staff members will get wages of 3.9 per cent to 4.4 per cent more. There would also be a bonus of one month's pay, Cathay said. With the compromise, the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union has backed down from its initial demand of an 8 per cent rise. Cathay had faced the prospect of multiple labour actions during the busy holiday travel season, but has so far been able to stave off large-scale disruptions. First-half net profit rose to HK$347 million from HK$24 million in the same period last year, but that still fell short of the company's expectations. "In the first half in particular, we were buffeted by high fuel prices, weak cargo demand and continued pressure on passenger yield," Cathay chief executive Ivan Chu said. Meanwhile, the Aircrew Officers Association, which represents 2,100 of the airline's 2,900 pilots, ended its first day of a work-to-rule action with little impact on the flights. In such an action, pilots do the bare minimum required by their contracts. They do not work on their days off, nor show up early. Pilots said the impact of their action would be felt only after a few days. Real-time information on the Chek Lap Kok airport website showed that, as of last night, Cathay flights recorded only limited delays. Just one Cathay flight - from Taipei to Hong Kong - was cancelled. An airline spokesman said it was not related to the industrial action. The Airport Authority said Chek Lap Kok's operations remained normal yesterday. The Labour Department said it had been monitoring the issue closely and maintained contact with both sides. "We call on both the management and the union to resolve any disagreements through dialogue," a spokesman said.