Hong Kong Airlines said on Friday it would lay off 250 cabin crew and the Hong Kong Hotel Employees union announced about 100 redundancies at the Shangri-La group, as the city’s tourism-related businesses struggled to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic.

File photo: Benson Kua, via Flickr.

The latest round of redundancies in the tourism industry come shortly after the expiry of the “no lay offs” guarantee period required by the government of companies that received its employment subsidies. The government has stopped short of announcing another round of handouts.

Hong Kong Airlines laid off about 400 of its staff in February including 150 cabin crew, Hong Kong Economic Times reported. The airlines received a total of HK$154 million in employment subsidies from the government in exchange for promising not to fire close to 3,000 of its employees during the subsidised period.

Photo: GovHK.

The airline confirmed the layoff announcement in a statement to HKFP, and said the decision was made ”due to the prolonged impact of Covid-19 on our business.”

“Hong Kong Airlines has been compelled to adjust our operations significantly in the past year due to travel restrictions. These ongoing adjustments have not only drastically affected our revenue but also reduce our operating crew and staffing requirements in the foreseeable future,” the statement read. “The compensation package offered to all affected cabin crew will be in full compliance with the employee’s conditions of service and local labour laws.”

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Hotel Employees Union said over 100 employees from various hotels under the Shangri-La group would be laid off, including some senior executives. The announcement came after the Kerry Hotel, one of the group’s hotels, was approved as one of the government’s designated quarantine hotels, the union wrote.

In a statement to the newspaper Ming Pao, the group’s spokesperson said it was “forced to take this hard but necessary decision.”


Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.