Hong Kong Airlines Has to Let Go of 170 Employees & Remove Food + Drinks from Flights, But It Might Not Be Related to COVID-19

To the average layman, COVID-19 is everything inhumane: infectious, deadly, terrifying.

And with over 2,000 deaths and 75,000 confirmed cases to date, the Coronavirus outbreak is one calamity deserving of the aforementioned adjectives.

But as it turns out, it’s not just human lives that’re at stake.

As the world shies away from the threat that’s COVID-19, valiant and intrepid humans, both young and old, have begun to avoid crowded places like they’re the plague.

Malls, small-time businesses, big-time businesses… they’ve all been dealt the card of fate.

Image: Google Maps

Flight airlines, too, have seen their revenue struggle to take off. Amidst ever-increasing paranoia levels around the globe, humanity has all but discarded the once-craved notion of an ‘overseas holiday’, instead staking it all on their home and the comfort it brings them.

And with all the travel bans being implemented north, south, east and west, one wonders:

How are airlines even managing to stay afloat nowadays?

Hong Kong Airlines Has to Let Go of 170 Employees & Remove Food + Drinks from Flights

As the airline industry grapples with the COVID-19 and all of its repercussions , one airline has taken all the necessary steps to cut down on its losses.

According to TODAYonline, Hong Kong Airlines began sacking staff on Wednesday (19 Feb), a day after they downgraded in-flight services to a bare minimum.

170 employees, mostly flight attendants, were told in no uncertain terms that Wednesday would be their last day of work.

Just the night before, the airline announced its decision to cut a host of services on all flights (including the provision of food, drinks, pillows and blankets) from yesterday (19 February 2020) onwards, describing the resolution as a “precautionary measure” to safeguard customers and crew this COVID-19 outbreak.

The South China Morning Post, however, refuted the airline’s statement: according to the Post, the move’s a “desperate attempt” to cut costs by an airline that was close to bankruptcy at the beginning of the year.

Apparently, the airline had announced two weeks ago that it was “making 400 staff redundant”, after it was determined that there’ll be “earlier reductions to services” which supposedly only affected flights to mainland China.

“We regret to inform you that based on the company’s recent review of its operational requirements, you will be made redundant,” one employee’s notice read.

In other words, the airline’s allegedly using COVID-19 as an excuse to let go of people lah.

Severance Pay

In light of the given circumstances, flight attendants would be paid an extra month, including “accrued but unused” annual leave. Severance pay, based off years of service, would also be taken into account.

The termination notice said: “We would like to thank you for your contribution to the company in the past and we sincerely wish you all the best in your future endeavours.”

Affected staff have since been instructed to return their uniform on Thursday.