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CX requires a complete cleansing...

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CX requires a complete cleansing...

Old 7th Apr 2020, 18:50
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CX requires a complete cleansing...

Considering the current dire situation, and the resultant grounding of most of the fleet, perhaps it's time to have a wholesale rethink of the airlines structure, policies, and in particular, the presence of a certain type of individual that has long been the real "virus" at the heart of the airline.

With the unfolding crisis, it is apparent that it will be a long time, if ever, that CX will return to "business as normal". It is fair to say that our industry is undergoing its greatest crisis in modern history, and the outcome will be a wholesale restructuring. None of us would have thought, even in January, that by March almost the entire airline would be shut down, and nearly all other airlines around the world. With that shutdown comes an opportunity to restructure CX to emerge a healthier and once again prosperous company. The one thing that will almost certainly prevent that is if our management, who have in nearly all cases over the past 20 years proven to be lacking in modern management skills, are allowed to continue as before.

That problem can be divided into two categories: 1) an incestuous and myopic Swire culture that does not allow any fresh management thinking, and 2) particular individuals who on any level should have been fired long ago (I will come back to point 2 later). The first category is the reason that CX operates utilizing discredited, inefficient and destructive policies and procedures.

The insistence on populating our senior management with Swire flunkies (and most of them are exactly that) is destructive, as they work almost entirely from a virtue-signaling mindset, always convinced by each other that their way of doing business is the "only" way. There is almost never any fresh thinking from outside. The "UK Public School/Oxbridge" business culture, where any revisionary thinking is automatically rejected has resulted in our airline slowly corroding from the inside out. Many foreign airlines have hired CEO's from outside their industry, thereby injecting new thought and energy into what inevitably becomes a tired and stale culture without such intervention. CX has never experienced that. Just look at the grey, mind-numbing parade of CEO's we've had since the 90's. We've had a succession of narcissists, drug addicts, CCP loving kowtowers, deniers of their own heritage and birthright, ones that didn't even know what aircraft we flew, to someone who in 30 years I had never once heard of. Not a one of them memorable for any single positive accomplishment. The only singularly uniting principle they all have had is their desire to see the pilot profession at CX brought low. That is their one actual roaring success. Well done Gentlemen.

Our crew scheduling is probably the most self-destructive scheduling system used by any reputable airline in the world. It is almost solely responsible for the reason that CX has likely the highest average sickness rate in the industry. If you don't allow your pilots to have some reasonable control over their lives, then the only option left to them is to self-manage the situation through strategic sick calls. The company has brought that on themselves over the past 25 years of abusing their pilots, their families and ultimately their health. The recent promise inherent in the implementation of the new Jeppesen system will be killed at birth as it is once again being hijacked by jealous non-pilots who are manually interfering in the rosters and will send us right back to where we've wallowed for the past quarter century; dysfunction, inefficiency, lost productivity, record sick rates and bloated cost. This system is actually making the pilots lifestyles worse, if such a thing was possible. Our brilliant management have pulled that off however. Again, well done Gentlemen.

This brings me onto point 2). There are certain individuals entrenched within our management structure that are not only incompetent, but who personally exhibit the most awful examples of immorality, narcissism and venality. I realise that it may not be Politically Correct to discuss such things. In the interests of brevity, i'll shorten that term to the initials "PC". In a normal first world business environment and with proper accountability, certain behaviours would be dealt with by summary dismissal. Certainly at the very least, such individuals would never be allowed near the levers of real power. In CX however, "Political Correctness" has moved very close to the top of the Flt Ops empire.

I would like to suggest a hypothetical situation: say you had a manager, who had the responsibility to oversee the performance, careers and "care" of the individuals beneath them. Then surely one of the most basic expectations would be that such a manager would never violate the personal life of one of those under his authority. If such a manager would, again hypothetically speaking, say...commit adultery with a new pilots wife and then, when confronted by the pilot in question, go on to threaten his employment if he didn't back down, would you not say such an individual should never be allowed to manage anyone for a major corporation, at any level, in any capacity? Well, in CX, we have the situation where PC has risen its ugly head, and in fact is looking to make a mockery of such norms of corporate behaviour and morals. PC is a destructive ideology in any company, and will prove to be very much so if allowed to infect the highest office of Flt Ops.

It is an indictment of the Swire's that the ideology of PC seemingly has the backing of the ruling family and high placed officers. It says as much about the Swire's as it does about the presence of PC in our company. It is vile, corrosive and utterly shameful that such a situation exists, and that Swire's have condoned it. No pilot (or other employee) should ever have to be fearful of being subjected to Political Correctness.

I must add, the above example was “hypothetical”. Such an event obviously never happened in CX, as there was never any mention of such a manager being fired. That of course would have happened if such an obscenity had actually occurred. Certainly, in a company that valued its integrity

This crisis requires a serious re-evaluation of all aspects of CX as a company, a culture and how to properly manage a once proud airline back to health and prosperity. It will surely fail in that goal if it insists on allowing destructive, unworthy and utterly discredited policies and people to continue going forward. If there are decent, forward thinking management individuals anywhere in the current roster of Swire princes, you know where to start, and what to do. Will you? Perhaps start by appointing a credible, non-Swire CEO to CX, and make it someone who actually knows another world exists outside of Swire house. Certainly ensure it is an individual who clearly understands the precept and importance of corporate morality and behaviour.

I have now left the company, so I have no fear of stating these opinions, and I do so for the benefit of all the decent, loyal and dedicated employees that deserve better (much better). That should start with providing a management they can trust and rely on to provide them the support they require. That begins with the personal integrity of the managers themselves. At the moment, the airline is surviving due largely to the unitiring efforts and dedication of one man, and we all know who that is (not to ignore the fact that there are many others making a sincere effort to help the company from the management level). It is a shame that there are so few of his character and integrity inhabiting the senior management ranks. As the title of my thread states, CX requires a complete cleansing.

Last edited by Trafalgar; 7th Apr 2020 at 19:17.
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Old 7th Apr 2020, 20:14
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Awesome post and of course I had to delete mine. One can only dream.

Last edited by Piet Lood; 8th Apr 2020 at 01:32.
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Old 7th Apr 2020, 21:57
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Trafalgar,
That is probably the best post I have ever read on PPRuNe, over many years. Well done. Unfortunately the problems in CX are so endemically rooted within the warped Swire culture and arrogance, that I very much doubt that they have the ability to open their eyes and see things from a different angle. It is beyond them. There are many reasons obviously why CX has gone from being probably the best airline and airline job in the world, to where it is now, struggling to work out what to do next. As you say, it needs a major clean out in management and management style, starting from the very top and encompassing the obstructionist Crew Control system and job protectionism that is wide spread in the whole of Cathay City. Cathay needs a new and very competent CEO, such as Greg Foran, the gentleman recently appointed to run Air NZ and now has the unenviable job of winding it down to a shadow of its former self. As the former CEO of Wal-Mart in the USA, with over a million employees working with him, he would bring in fresh ideas and a totally new way of getting things done and making things happen. For this to happen, people like Merlin Swire, will need to step aside and let professionals, who know how to manage and what they are doing, with fresh ideas and who respects the importance and value of the employees.

I am not going to make a long reply, as you have raised most of the points and I hope you are enjoying your Retirement, as I am down here in NZ, although the Lockdown is wearing thin, but it is hopefully working. It is truly sad to see, as an outside observer now, the demise of a once great airline, which has come about due to incompetent and arrogant management at all levels. Things need to change, but I am not sure they are mature and brave enough to admit it and do what is necessary, before it is too late. Being based next door to the monster that is the mainland Chinese Government, certainly does not help their cause, however you have to deal with the hand you are dealt and our management lot aren't cutting it.

Best Regards to all.

PH
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 02:05
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The H-C report identified the issue of Swire directors isolating themselves on the 9th floor remote from the departments they are supposedly responsible for. The recommendation was for each director to be relocated to their respective department. ie, DFO move his office to the 3rd floor. Such a move would enhance communication, in both directions.

The company’s response? Cannot.
Why? The isolation of its directors has been such a historical roaring success.
10 years later and it still makes me laugh.

I don’t think it’s purely arrogance that prevents our most senior managers from introducing a safety recommendation about where an office should be located. It’s also fear.
Fear of what outside voices may have to say.
Fear of what outside management may actually do.
Fear of collapse. Not of the company, but of their carefully orchestrated management structure and career opportunities.
Fear of successful change resulting in history shining a less than complimentary light on the past 2 decades of leadership.

But the company directors in their infinite wisdom have decided to once again rubber stamp the management contract with JSSHK. I suspect a few directors/shareholders weren’t in complete agreement with that decision. Lots of noise coming from outside the company that the next director will come from a non-Swire background.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 02:37
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https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/ind...t-redundancies

I’m no management lackey but CX’s approach is in stark contrast to many others and is keeping its entire workforce intact. For now. Not saying that cuts won’t happen but it’s been very cautious about acting too quickly. That means pilots still have an income and benefits for months longer than strictly necessary. And time to possibly prepare for worse.

On the other hand, you have Air NZ’s ‘woke’ management who have unsheathed the long knife barely 3 weeks after NZ closed its borders to foreigners.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:16
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Originally Posted by CXDOG View Post
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/ind...t-redundancies

I’m no management lackey but CX’s approach is in stark contrast to many others and is keeping its entire workforce intact. For now. Not saying that cuts won’t happen but it’s been very cautious about acting too quickly. That means pilots still have an income and benefits for months longer than strictly necessary. And time to possibly prepare for worse.

On the other hand, you have Air NZ’s ‘woke’ management who have unsheathed the long knife barely 3 weeks after NZ closed its borders to foreigners.
Do you honestly believe the esteemed CEO who fell into the job in a Steven Bradbury moment is one of the great strategic thinkers of our time and his inaction is one of pure genius?
Or do you believe the accidental CEO is like a deer caught in the headlights?
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:32
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Originally Posted by CXDOG View Post
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/ind...t-redundancies

I’m no management lackey but CX’s approach is in stark contrast to many others and is keeping its entire workforce intact. For now. Not saying that cuts won’t happen but it’s been very cautious about acting too quickly. That means pilots still have an income and benefits for months longer than strictly necessary. And time to possibly prepare for worse.

On the other hand, you have Air NZ’s ‘woke’ management who have unsheathed the long knife barely 3 weeks after NZ closed its borders to foreigners.
Ya....don't think there's anything altruistic or forward thinking about any of this. It's a deliberate attempt to retain new joiners (on POS 18) under inferior contracts (who'd be the first to go) and dodge pay protection in the more senior contracts. The plan being the cheap new joiners replace the expensive old guys and the last thing they want to do is lay off that new cheap labor. So they're doing an end-run of the contracts--retaining the new guys while attempting to get around the pay protection for the old heads.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:37
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Yawn..........

You guys should stick to your day jobs.....
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:41
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Welcome back Traf.
Magnificent piece of writing.
More please.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:43
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Look all I am saying is that all over the world airlines that have been spouting the ‘people are our greatest asset’ line are using their MBA conventional thinking and jettisoning staff immediately to cut costs. Think about why you joined CX. One of my reasons was financial stability. They’ve never laid off/furloughed pilots. Ever. I’m realistic enough to recognise that this mega event may well produce that outcome but Swire thinking is different. Whether it’s good thinking or bad thinking we will see in the coming months and years. In the meantime I will still expect with confidence my salary on the 26th. Not all airline pilots can say that right now.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:45
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Originally Posted by Progress Wanchai View Post
Do you honestly believe the esteemed CEO who fell into the job in a Steven Bradbury moment is one of the great strategic thinkers of our time and his inaction is one of pure genius?
Or do you believe the accidental CEO is like a deer caught in the headlights?
When Willie Walsh first took the helm of Aer Lingus ( before he went to BA/IAG ) he had been running an EI subsiduary in Spain called Fortuna. With 8 737s he made more profit than the whole EI group put together and was upgraded to CEO of EI. On his first day in Dublin he closed the senior management offices on the top floor, closed the executive restaurant, executive toilets, and chauffeur limos driving them home from work. The second day he joined the workers on the 2nd floor at a standard work station. EI was back in profit with 14 months. The senior management cut by 70 %.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:47
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Originally Posted by CXDOG View Post
Look all I am saying is that all over the world airlines that have been spouting the ‘people are our greatest asset’ line are using their MBA conventional thinking and jettisoning staff immediately to cut costs. Think about why you joined CX. One of my reasons was financial stability. They’ve never laid off/furloughed pilots. Ever. I’m realistic enough to recognise that this mega event may well produce that outcome but Swire thinking is different. Whether it’s good thinking or bad thinking we will see in the coming months and years. In the meantime I will still expect with confidence my salary on the 26th. Not all airline pilots can say that right now.
You haven't been in CX very long have you "Dog".
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 04:56
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Don’t mistake me for some bright eyed newbie. I’ve been here long enough to hate management plenty (enough to say screw you when it came time for SLS) but it has been within their power to cut deep and hard already. Sure they have some contractual conundrums to figure out like how to circumvent the redundancy in seniority clauses in Cos99/08. We’ll see.

My guess is that some ‘short term’ changes to ARAP(A) and HKPA will achieve some significant savings to ‘save jobs’. After all they are both unprotected Company Policy right now...
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 05:11
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Originally Posted by unitedabx View Post
When Willie Walsh first took the helm of Aer Lingus ( before he went to BA/IAG ) he had been running an EI subsiduary in Spain called Fortuna. With 8 737s he made more profit than the whole EI group put together and was upgraded to CEO of EI. On his first day in Dublin he closed the senior management offices on the top floor, closed the executive restaurant, executive toilets, and chauffeur limos driving them home from work. The second day he joined the workers on the 2nd floor at a standard work station. EI was back in profit with 14 months. The senior management cut by 70 %.
You don’t half spout some shite United. In so doing Walsh also [email protected] over all employees’ C of S and reduced Aer Lingus to a low cost carrier in short order. In a very short period of time.
He’d have tried the same at BA if he could have got away with it.

Don’t tell me. He rings you and asks you and Traf for advice ?

Last edited by MENELAUS; 8th Apr 2020 at 06:52.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 05:59
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There is something really creepy about ex employees mouthing off now that they have departed, especially when they previously had the chance to make a difference they looked the other way! For 30 years CX pilots have passively accepted, without a whimper, the gradual downgrading of the once best conditions anywhere.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 06:42
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Ask me what happens when they do “whimper” and try to make a difference.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 07:24
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Originally Posted by Globocnik View Post
You don’t half spout some shite United. In so doing Walsh also [email protected] over all employees’ C of S and reduced Aer Lingus to a low cost carrier in short order. In a very short period of time.
He’d have tried the same at BA if he could have got away with it.

Don’t tell me. He rings you and asks you and Traf for advice ?
If your mean shite equals fact then I'll take that. Nothing I wrote was incorrect. Sorry if you were one of the EI pilots that lost out. But for years the company had relied on state aid to keep it afloat and flying a jumbo to JFK once a month on the old EI101 service and getting paid 150K to do it had to stop. Free staff travel and a pension scheme so out of kilter with industry norms it was totally unsustainable.
WW saved EI and whilst not a personal friend, I do know him, we are on first name terms and meet on our way to Madrid once a month. Live with it.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 07:25
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Originally Posted by CXDOG View Post
Don’t mistake me for some bright eyed newbie. I’ve been here long enough to hate management plenty (enough to say screw you when it came time for SLS) but it has been within their power to cut deep and hard already. Sure they have some contractual conundrums to figure out like how to circumvent the redundancy in seniority clauses in Cos99/08. We’ll see.

My guess is that some ‘short term’ changes to ARAP(A) and HKPA will achieve some significant savings to ‘save jobs’. After all they are both unprotected Company Policy right now...
Fair enough "Dog". I take it back.
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 07:46
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Originally Posted by Globocnik View Post
You don’t half spout some shite United. In so doing Walsh also [email protected] over all employees’ C of S and reduced Aer Lingus to a low cost carrier in short order. In a very short period of time.
He’d have tried the same at BA if he could have got away with it.

Don’t tell me. He rings you and asks you and Traf for advice ?
I'd say he succeeded at BA, especially on SH on their A320's, definately a no-frills carrier
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Old 8th Apr 2020, 09:22
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Could all be moot unless Swire have got enough guanxi to get a major loan to keep CX afloat from the govt (like AF) Most likely this will come with massive strings attached, like handing control to Air China/ Beijing.
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