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Cathay good old days

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

Cathay good old days

Old 26th Aug 2019, 17:10
  #1 (permalink)  
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Cathay good old days

Just curious, after reading here how good were things at CX years ago, I would like to know when was that and how good was then. And when did all started to go down the tubes.
I would imagine it was great flying for Cathay then and living in HK.
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 18:12
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Originally Posted by The Range View Post
Just curious, after reading here how good were things at CX years ago, I would like to know when was that and how good was then. And when did all started to go down the tubes.
I would imagine it was great flying for Cathay then and living in HK.
What difference does it make? For some 1993, some 2000, still others maybe even 2011. The undeniable theme is that itís getting persistently worse, regardless of when you started. Right?
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 18:25
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For me (and Cxorcist) any year since joining was better than anywhere else.

Otherwise, why would we still be here?


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Old 26th Aug 2019, 19:38
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Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
For me (and Cxorcist) any year since joining was better than anywhere else.

Otherwise, why would we still be here?


Not true. Itís called seniority and being (or at least feeling) trapped. If I could have a redo, I definitely would have left 5-6 years ago and would be light years ahead. That shipped sailed, and what looked like a sizeable risk then is an even bigger risk now. That said, those risks need to be weighed against the risks associated with staying, which are increasing atm. Something I think most of us would agree on is that starting a career now at CX should only be pursued as a choice of last resort. Most of us (Generation X) regret ever being affiliated with CX, but there are exceptions, like STW (who is a bit younger I believe).
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 09:26
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During the 1980s Cathay was the best paid airline job in the world for those on the "A" scale, industrial relations were good, Hong Kong was still under British rule. The Middle East 3 didn't exist and CX was a premium long haul airline and the gateway airline into a rapidly opening up China.

Recruitment was highly selective and most applicants were rejected. Captains from other airlines joined as first officers and often doubled their pay. No one left for any other airline, if you got in you were made for life and retired a UK pound millionaire in the days when that meant something.

"B" scale pay was probably the start and things seem to have been on a downward trend ever since.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 09:38
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krismiler nails it! To give an idea of how much things have deteriorated - in addition to the salary boost "newjoiners" in the early '80s were given a grant of about £10,000 which did not have to be repaid so that they could buy furniture and establish a home in Hong Kong for their families. It was felt important that the families felt settled into their new environment.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 10:03
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To emphasise the degradation even more: when you arrived in the 80's, the company provided a 'housing loan", which covered your down payment and legal fees on a house (yes, house...2100' sq ft and a garden). The monthly allowance was enough to repay both the mortgage and housing loan. In other words, you could buy a house with nothing out of pocket. And do it over and over again. Now, you can't even get a hotel room when you arrive in HK to join the company, and the hkpa "allowance" (cough) is not enough to afford the most miserable of apartments. Shows you how much CX now thinks of their crews.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 10:06
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People mourning the death of Adrian Swire recently forget that he presided over one of the biggest hatchet jobs against aircrew that the Airline industry anywhere in the world has ever seen. In making his (and Merlin's) £5 Billion fortune he authorised the attack on everything that made Cathay great in the '80's and before. Job satisfaction, loyalty, mutual respect, education, salary, housing and travel benefits,(to name but a few) were all attacked ruthlessly culminating in 49 pilots being sacked in one bully boy action that tarnished all CX "yes men" so-called managers (no capital "M" for you lot) for ever thereafter. A plague on all your houses because you now have what you wished for - a mundane, ordinary, penny pinching, non career LCC.
Looking at the politics of China and the general unrest in HKG I would say NOW is a good time to leave for almost anywhere.
Merlin and his cohorts are fine and couldn't give a stuff about you. Maybe it's time to return the compliment. They couldn't care less either way.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 10:24
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Arfur tells it like it is (was). There is nothing left of the airline we once worked for. It is gone, hollowed out by venal senior management, with the help of the "useful idiot" third floor cretins who have helped implement the orders from above (to help pad their own bank accounts in the process of course). You now have a pathetic, politically correct shell of a once great airline, who's only remaining fate is to be the victim of a bullying China, and eventual absorption by Air China. What a tragic and sad end. Most of us have kept our integrity intact. Many of us have sold their souls for a few pieces of silver (in particular the star chamber lot who destroyed careers, families and even lives with their participation in the 49er travesty). There is now really nothing left. Anyone who perseveres with this lot deserve their fate.
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Old 27th Aug 2019, 13:54
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Originally Posted by krismiler View Post
During the 1980s Cathay was the best paid airline job in the world for those on the "A" scale, industrial relations were good, Hong Kong was still under British rule. The Middle East 3 didn't exist and CX was a premium long haul airline and the gateway airline into a rapidly opening up China.

Recruitment was highly selective and most applicants were rejected. Captains from other airlines joined as first officers and often doubled their pay. No one left for any other airline, if you got in you were made for life and retired a UK pound millionaire in the days when that meant something.

"B" scale pay was probably the start and things seem to have been on a downward trend ever since.
The 1994 contract change that threatened "sign this new contract or you will never have another pay increase" stands out for me as the start of Cathay Pacific management's loss of respect for its aircrew. So began the chase of the almighty dollar as opposed to supplying first class and safe Asian air services to and from Hong Kong.

Middle management earned much less salary than aircrew and they were very jealous. But, by clever tactics they could earn huge bonuses. So, by screwing the minions they had control over, they could earn rewards that far outweighed the aircrew's total renumeration. Swire central actively promoted this ruthless culture of attacking aircrew conditions of service towards self promotion and reward.

Typical public school bully-boy tactics learnt the hard way in British boarding schools.

We thought we were a protected species, but it turned out that we were just any lambs fit for slaughter.

Alas, welcome to the real World.
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 13:28
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Originally Posted by krismiler View Post
During the 1980s Cathay was the best paid airline job in the world for those on the "A" scale, industrial relations were good, Hong Kong was still under British rule. The Middle East 3 didn't exist and CX was a premium long haul airline and the gateway airline into a rapidly opening up China.

Recruitment was highly selective and most applicants were rejected. Captains from other airlines joined as first officers and often doubled their pay. No one left for any other airline, if you got in you were made for life and retired a UK pound millionaire in the days when that meant something.

"B" scale pay was probably the start and things seem to have been on a downward trend ever since.
Many reasons for the decline in conditions, not least would be the Eddington and Turnbull types, middle level managements furious envy, pilots themselves and mostly a supply and demand thing.
In 1989 KA, probably the best paying narrow body airline anywhere was desperate to get crews. By 1990 they had hundreds if not thousands of applicants and found they could get any number of crews to accept a B scale and they did so. CX followed shortly after and from that day on divided and conquered the pilot group, effectively weakening the AOA and the DPA. It only became worse in 1994 with another divisive contract adjustment, later the "local" package, C scales etc.

Very few of the current CX or KA aircrew have not accepted an inferior package at some time compared to the early days so they need to accept some responsibility for the situation. I'm not blaming anyone, we all have to work. It's sad but it's not just HK
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 14:42
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Pilots mostly to blame for the decline of the profession.
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 15:48
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Originally Posted by The Range View Post
Pilots mostly to blame for the decline of the profession.
the rot started with the pilots who paid for their own training and lic to get a foot in a big shiny jet.

The bean counters then tot if we hire a driver surely he must have his own drivers lic..eh.
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 03:07
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Originally Posted by wongsuzie View Post
the rot started with the pilots who paid for their own training and lic to get a foot in a big shiny jet.

The bean counters then tot if we hire a driver surely he must have his own drivers lic..eh.
Yeah, why would you hire people who have spent a decade or more serving an apprenticeship of sorts, gaining skills and experience and an appreciation of the career gained through hard work when you can pluck a few instant geniuses out of Mong Kok, pay'em peanuts and if and when some ever make a front seat, well they are always going to be cheap. win win .
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 04:35
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You only have to look around dispatch during the heavy departure bank time periods to realise what's happened to this airline. Age and nationality bear no relation to the CX of 30 years ago. The mindset and experience of this airline has wasted away, to be replaced by a new reality that is very aviation ignorant on the larger scale, and a much younger and inexperienced group in control of a once great airline. Eventually, the Swires destruction of the old CX will reap what they have sown. There is nothing of value left here. If you want a proper career, you had better establish that in a normal part of the world with an airline subject to proper laws and customs.
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 05:10
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Speaking as an expat, I couldn't disagree any more.

Sure, the package is significantly worse than that we joined on, but we've sat back and watched the degradation. You simply cannot blame the new joiners accepting; it was the best deal for them at the time. We were simply lucky that we are of a generation offered better terms.

As to the demographic, I must say, when I see I'm flying with a local captain (or SO for that matter), I'm pleased. They're normally competent, professional and relaxed. The entitled and vitriolic attitudes here make no positive contribution to the position we find ourselves in, and are probably the very reason we find ourselves here.

Anyway, back to pinning the blame on everyone but ourselves...
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 06:22
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And where what you describe is 100 times worse than in CX
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 07:08
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Yep - the introduction of B scale was the date - so 1993/4 - a generation has passed since CX was the 'good old days'. At the time, an FO earned more than the finance director. Bean counters obviously could not allow this to continue...

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Old 29th Aug 2019, 08:13
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The deliberately insulting nickname for pilots originating in the Hong Kong Club in the early '90s was to describe us as "millionaire morons".
The main cadre of Senior managers are trawled from Oxford University and not one of them ever stood up for pilots during the ongoing barrage of hate and derision waged by bean counters against us. Not one. They were all made from the same jealous, ignorant mould as Michael O' Leary. Pilots are "Overpaid bus drivers" who complain at doing 18 hours a week all sounds very familiar.
All I would say to the generations of "yes men" who carried out the orders of the High Command is that you've finally done it and reduced our once great Airline flown by exMilitary Fighter pilots to a LCC flown by "children of the Magenta" on subsistence COS.
An absolute travesty for which you should be throughly ashamed!
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 08:23
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Arfur. To feel "ashamed' requires the prerequisite of having that vital and important quality called a "conscience". Obviously, very few (if any) of the Swire princes have such an aspect to their makeup. Having spent the past 30 years in their company, they are almost to a one devoid of such aspects to their character. That is why they can do what they do with such ease. Of course, they forget that there is an eternal accounting of their behaviour. For that reason I don't lose much sleep regarding their actions. I have been brought up with the understanding that life needs to be dealt with, both good and bad. They have no awareness of their peril. Ultimately they will come to realise the cost of their actions, and see that it has actually guaranteed their eternal damnation. Life goes on, CX is now dead and buried due to their immortality, greed and avarice. They have killed a once great airline. They can own that...and they will.
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