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How times have changed.

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.

How times have changed.

Old 8th Sep 2021, 14:33
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 647
Ha ha - thanks for not specifying my gender or sexual preference Curry Lamb - very PC of you ;-)

In 2 or 3 or 4 years yes we will be at the new normal. The very fact that flying has reached or exceeded pre covid levels in some domestic markets suggests to me that one day people will fly internationally as much as they did precovid. I dont know what that will look like - just like I didn't know straight away what flying would look like post 9-11. But flying returned to, and then exceeded, pre 9-11 figures. So yes I am an optimist - I do believe that within some time (1 or 2 or 3 or 4 years) CX flying will exceed pre covid. That is assuming we dont get rid of a whole lot of a/c since we are severely undermanned in any scenario that has us flying more than 70% of what we flew pre covid for a few years.

Manning in Jul 2018 - we had 1223 CN, 1456 FO and 549 SO. Beginning of last year we had roughly 100 more pilots total but dont have the accurate breakdown - but let's just assume an extra 30CN, 40FO and 30SO extra. So that means roughly 1260 CNs, 1500 FOs and 590SOs in Jan 2020.

Today we have just over 900 CNs - of which we may lose another 100+ from Europe/LHR/North America - so maybe 800ish in a few months from now. So we are short over 450 CNs from CX mainline.

KA had roughly 250CN and 250FO - so we need ANOTHER 250CNs to man all those shiny new A321s and extra 330s.

So we NEED about 700CNs to get back to 100% manning - it will take a few years to train that many - maybe 4-6years?
We are undermanned on mainline by about 200 or so FOs - plus lose another 100+ from the aforementioned bases - means we need 300 to get back to 100% - plus another 700 to replace the 700 upgraded.

So to get back to 100% manning will take many years - it is NOT something that can be achieved in a year or two. So the options are - slow recovery from covid (say 3-5 years) then the training machine can keep up (maybe?) or just get rid of a/c to save face. I suspect the latter.
Numero Crunchero is offline  
Old 8th Sep 2021, 14:59
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Shh..
Posts: 73
Love your analysis NC
Also, do factor in the people leaving when housing is effective no more. Many are in the stages of planning their exit. When this happens and (leisure and biz) travel starts picking up....
carolknows is offline  
Old 8th Sep 2021, 15:08
  #63 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hong Kong, SAR.
Posts: 169
It will be interesting to how successful the company will be in trying to attract new pilots under the current cos in such large numbers, especially as many many other companies will be hiring too in that scenario.

Market forces finally slated to work in our favour?
Oasis is offline  
Old 8th Sep 2021, 16:13
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Valley of the Wind
Posts: 26
Great post NC, but you forgot that they don`t need so many pilots....CX wet dream became reality just in time...

https://simpleflying.com/cathay-paci...-a350-flights/

jakekenobi is offline  
Old 8th Sep 2021, 16:27
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hong Kong, SAR.
Posts: 169
phew, look at the comments in that article... not the best thing to be a pioneer with as an airline.

1. they will still need a dog
2. who flies when you have to go to the bathroom?
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 17:23
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Hk
Posts: 46
Slightly confused at CX’s statement that ends with saying “it all depends on how the pandemic plays out”..

What does the pandemic have to do with single pilot ops?

Also - it doesn’t alter the number of captains needed..
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 18:41
  #67 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 129
because if things continue the way they are Cathay will go out of business and won't be around in 2025 when they want to do this
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 20:31
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Valley of the Wind
Posts: 26
Dingleberry Handpump

Exactly , safety issues aren't addressed, and i hope we all remember Air France 447, especially CAA-s around the world, i just can't comprehend that they are even thinking about it.

Cutting costs, OK i understand, but how far does that go...the bean counters from Wall street have entered the cockpit, bye bye safety.

I am glad that there are many comments, and that the argument against will be strong if that motion comes to life, lessons from AF447 gone to waste.

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Air_France_Flight_447
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 20:51
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: hong kong
Posts: 25
Lessons? CX has got rid of some of its more experienced baby sitters and now they are talking single pilot. These people are seriously “move beyond”. When the inevitable occurs the CAAC will be rushing in with their biggest nutcrushing boots on. Penny Bay going to be the least of your worries
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 00:08
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Shh..
Posts: 73
Posterising

Please continue to log and monitor the numbers, and share the big numbers with us in months to come! Will be interesting

Numero Crunchero

NC, what do you propose as incentives to get more become trainers?
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 00:43
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: planet earth
Posts: 63
Incentives not required anymore. With POS18 Trainers are appointed by the company.
doolay is offline  
Old 9th Sep 2021, 01:37
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 23
carolknows

If numbers are a thing of interest, during August 2020 I did a count of the number of crew and sorted them by rank and fleet. Took a look just now (August 2021) and made a little table for comparison. The based crew numbers are rather strange as almost all canadian/ frankfurt based crew can still be seen on the list (not sure if that means they are returning to Hong Kong, but most likely an issue of a not up to date list as there is a huge drop in numbers for our Australian based colleagues). Expecting the London numbers to go down in the future as well.



Last edited by Posterizing; 9th Sep 2021 at 03:22.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 03:13
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Shh..
Posts: 73
Wow thank you for putting time into this!
Strange that the base figures are not up to date. But true, sadly those who have recently taken up a London last couple years would certainly not in any way consider returning!
How do you analyze the ratio of 777 fos to cns? And the future trend of this?
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 03:43
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 23
Looking from Aug 2020 to Aug 2021, theres a drop of 340 777 CNs. This coincided with a 140 increase on the 747, and a 50 increase on the airbus, and 27 on the 320s. It would therefore seem that the majority of the total loss of around 130 captains from all fleets came from the 777, either from retirement/ resignation. Id be expecting the 777 CN number to go down even further with more drafting to the 320 and the 747, and now with rumours that the 777 fleet is going to be reduced to only a small fraction of what it used to be.

777 FO numbers dropped only slightly comparatively by a number of 120. Interestingly this is also the total number of HKG based FOs lost from Aug 2020 to Aug 2021. This once again happened with a increase of 70 on the 747, but a drop of 30 on the airbus. (Will not be counting the 27 on the 320 as most of those are DEFOs from dragonair.) Therefore it would seem from the numbers that FOs spread more evenly from all fleets made up the total loss of 120 FOs between Aug 2020 - Aug 2021.

If you look at CN/FO ratios back in Aug 2020, only the 777 had a close to 1:2 ratio. Both the 747 and Airbus were closer to a 1:1 ratio. The current ratio of 1 CN to 2FOs on the 777 fleet somewhat makes sense if you think about the future direction of the company, which is to make the 777 the workhorse for high demand long haul/ ultra long haul flights, while leaving the shorter flights for the other fleets. However, considering the ratios of the other fleets and 2SO ops etc, I would expect that the company is planning to bring 777 FO numbers further down, most probably by drafting to other fleets mainly the 320. This is just a guess but the initial draft to other fleets most likely focused on captains, which may also explain the current skewed ratio on the 777.
Posterizing is offline  
Old 9th Sep 2021, 04:46
  #75 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Shh..
Posts: 73
Poster! You will be the perfect candidate to do budgeting for the company! Thanks for the analysis!

In your opinion, when do you expect the 777 number to stabilize? Especially the current draft of captains. Assume long haul travel starts picking up next year... How much further is the 777cn number going to spiral? How many years will this draft spread across? And do you expect the 777 FOs due to be upgraded this and next year be automatically sent to other fleets? Interested in your deep investigation and scrutiny!
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 06:16
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 23
If rumours that the 777 fleet is to be shrunk to less than a quarter of what it used to be is true (around 10 planes), a number of around 100 CNs and 150 FOs would make sense. This would require 80 more CNs and 250 FOs to leave the 777 fleet. Coincidentially enough, 250 CNs and 250 FOs was the ballpark figure of Dragonair pilots. Considering their fleet of half A320 and half A330, it would be a good ballpark figure to assume that half of the crew were tasked to fly the A320. The 330 extra 777 crew would perfectly fill that void. (minus a few from resignations/ retiring)

I think we would all agree that though this shrinking of the 777 fleet is a short term measure (5 year period would be a good ballpark figure), the company is most likely not concerned about maintaining the 777 fleet crew compliment, and is focusing on building the 320 fleet as that is expected to be the fleet that would return to full capacity the earliest. Only when capacity really returns to a point where the 777 makes financial sense will they then either transfer crew back to the 777 from the 330/747, or do further hiring. Therefore, from a cost point of view, and from what the company have done in the past, it would not make sense for FOs to be upgraded to the 777 in the near future, as it would be money spent now, when it could be spent later (thus making it someone else's problem). A safe bet therefore is to expect more hiring from the Dragonair pool, and more drafts from the 777 in the future to fill the 320 spots .

Sidenote: I dont think id be interested in the bean counting, I only do these analysis to try and make better career decisions, glad that you are finding it interesting though.

Last edited by Posterizing; 9th Sep 2021 at 06:28.
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 08:00
  #77 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Shh..
Posts: 73
Very interesting how you managed to calculate these stats! Next scenario, if 200 FOs were to be forced off the 777, how does this selection take place? Random selection? 2 out of 3 FOs next in line for 777 upgrade get randomly allocated to another fleet? What's your take on this?
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 08:53
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Shh..
Posts: 73
Numero Crunchero, I'm also interested to hear your take and predictions on Poster's figures and analysis!
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 09:18
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 23
Id be surprised if any get on the 777 at all. Looking at the last 200 FOs who have been ugraded to CNs, only 11 were to the 777. If you zoom closer and only look at the last 140, the number drops to 3, and that was when there was actual flying on the 777.
Posterizing is offline  
Old 9th Sep 2021, 13:31
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: hong kong
Posts: 237
Hong Kong law does not recognise the concept of unfair dismissal.
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