The end of an era is what this has been in the works for. The airline no longer has any foreign pilot bases. I feel bad for the pilots and their families who have been affected by this decision, as it shows how Hong Kong isn't as global as it used to be.

Cathay Pacific no longer has foreign-based pilots

The number of foreign crew bases the Hong Kong-based airline had was one of the things that made it unique. It wasn't uncommon for the entire crew to be based in the U.S. if you were flying from many gateways.

Cathay Pacific has taken an axe to its foreign bases. When Hong Kong was facing protests that caused a decrease in travel to the airport, discussions of this already happened.

Hong Kong kept strict border restrictions for so long that the Pandemic brought the airline to a standstill. The project to close the foreign pilot bases was completed by one-by-one.

There were no foreign-based pilots at the time. The last international bases left were in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have all had pilot bases closed in the last couple of years. All of its US flight attendant bases were closed at the start of the Pandemic.

Cathay Pacific has closed all foreign pilot bases

This is sad for pilots & their families

In the past few years, Cathay Pacific has been in a tough spot, and that has been going on for a long time. The airline is trying to cut costs.

There is a chance that pilots will be given the chance to transfer to Hong Kong. There is a lot that goes into making a move like that.

It is anyone's guess as to what Hong Kong will look like a decade from now.

The general challenges with moving around in the airline industry make me feel bad for the pilots. It is not possible to get a comparable job at American Airlines if you start at the bottom of the seniority list.

Over 60 of the 100 pilots based in the US have left the company. It's sad.

I believe that this was a cost cutting initiative. I am not sure if the overall compensation structure for US-based pilots was better or if it was just more efficient in terms of staffing. Hong Kong-based pilots have historically received huge housing allowances along with other perks.

Pilots have been given the opportunity to relocate to Hong Kong

I’ve always loved Cathay Pacific’s foreign bases

I wanted to be an airline pilot when I was a child. The airline that I wanted to work for the most was Cathay Pacific. What's the reason?

  • Unlike most other foreign airlines, Cathay Pacific had crew bases in the US, so you could be based in the US while working for the airline
  • Cathay Pacific hired 777 second officers (essentially relief pilots on long haul flights) with similar experience requirements to a first officer position at a regional airline in the United States
  • It’s a pretty cushy job to fly almost exclusively between the United States and Hong Kong, as you basically work three or so roundtrips per month and then max out your hours
  • At the time Cathay Pacific was promoting people from second officer all the way to captain in less than 10 years, while being a wide body captain at a US airline typically takes 20+ years of seniority

I still have a lot of respect for airline pilots even though I never became a professional pilot, and I am fascinated by the pilots of Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways. I listen to the announcement from the pilot and love how international the cockpit crews are.

The fact that a pilot has an American or Canadian accent doesn't mean they're based in the US or Canada.

There will no longer be a guessing game when it comes to whether the pilots are based in Hong Kong or not. I am sad that so many of the great pilots left the airline or had to leave the world halfway around the globe.

I’ve always loved how international Cathay Pacific pilots are

All of its foreign pilot bases have been closed. The company closed its bases in the US at the end of October. Most pilots didn't take up the chance to relocate to Hong Kong because it was not an easy decision.

Best of luck to the pilots of Cathay Pacific who got us safely across the Pacific over the years and are now looking for new opportunities.

Do you think the closing of foreign pilot bases is a good thing?