Cathay Pacific Raises Its Retirement Age From 55 to 60

Oct 8, 2018

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After months of discussion, Cathay Pacific signed an agreement to raise its retirement age from 55 to 60 on Thursday, Oct. 4. The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendant Union considers the decision a major achievement, as they’ve been fighting for a retirement age extension for decades.

“Today, is the great victory for all workers in Hong Kong, especially Cabin Crew who have been stereotyped as young and pretty girls,” the FAU said in a Facebook post. “In this long standing fight, even though there have been so much challenges and obstacles within, we take this as a great leap forward in eliminating Age Discrimination of Hong Kong’s aviation industry.”

Cathay Pacific — and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon — are one of Hong Kong’s biggest employers with 20,000 employees, including more than 4,500 Hong Kong-based entry-level cabin crew. The airline expressed in a statement that extending the retirement age will prolong the promotion time for each rank.

“We understand that retirement age is a very important issue for many cabin crew,” Cathay Pacific said in a statement. “We are acutely aware that there are also differences of opinion regarding the subject among the crew community itself.”

The FAU also expressed that it understands this is not a perfect agreement for everyone involved.

This isn’t the first time the carrier has raised its retirement age; in 2008 Cathay raised the age for its Hong Kong-based cabin crew from 45 to 55 years. According to the South China Morning Post, pilots who signed contracts as far back as 1999 must retire at 55, while those who signed after the 2008 extension can retire at 65.

The South China Morning Post also reports that the new retirement policy will be effective as of January 2019, but there will also be new screening criteria. Only 75% of applicants who want to push back their retirement age can stay on, and their salaries will be cut by 3%-9%. The company said there will be a discussion with the FAU regarding this new agreement in the following week.

Featured image by Frogman1484 / Getty Images.

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