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HONG KONG: May 22, 2017. Cathay Pacific is making 600 head office staff redundant following the announcement in March of a three-year business restructuring that now includes removing the position of Cargo director.

Cathay reported a loss of HK$575 million for 2016 on revenue to HK$92.7 billion, compared to the previous 12 months' profit of HK$6.0 billion on revenue of HK$102.34 billion.

CX B777-300ERThe group saw a 13.2 percent drop in cargo revenue to HK$20.06 billion year-on-year and cited a 16.3 percent decline in yield to HK$1.59 because of strong competition, overcapacity and the suspension of Hong Kong fuel surcharges.

Commenting on the layoffs, Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg said: "We have had to make tough but necessary decisions for the future of our business and our customers. Changes in people's travel habits and what they expect from us, evolving competition and a challenging business outlook have created the need for significant change.

"It is the first step in the transformation of our business. We want to invest in and improve the experience that we offer people in Hong Kong and around the world, to find new ways to give our customers what they really want and need."

Cathay Pacific chairman John Slosar added: "We expect the operating environment in 2017 to remain challenging. Strong competition from other airlines and the adverse effect of the strength of the Hong Kong dollar are expected to continue to put pressure on yield. The cargo market got off to a good start, but overcapacity is expected to persist.

"We celebrated our 70th anniversary in 2016 and our commitment to Hong Kong and its people remains unwavering," he continued.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 163,473 tonnes of cargo and mail in April, an increase of 10.7 percent year-on-year. The first four months of 2017 saw cargo traffic rise 11.2 percent compared to 2016.

Cathay Pacific general manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said the group's cargo business continued to show encouraging growth with rising tonnage and yield. "Most market indicators are suggesting a solid year for air cargo," he declared.

The airline will introduce services to Barcelona in July and Christchurch in December this year.

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