Cathay Pacific Airways has expanded capacity-reduction plans by parking aircraft. It will have seven widebodies on the ground from early this year. The plans were unveiled as pilots voted to restart industrial action over pay and rostering issues, and the airline offered staff up to a year's unpaid leave.

The carrier, which in November said it would park two Boeing 747-200 freighters and an unspecified number of its 67 passenger aircraft, now confirms that it will ground seven aircraft in total. It has stored one 747-200F at Xiamen in China and will ground six more aircraft, with these expected to be A330/A340s, 747-400 passenger aircraft, and another 747-200F.

Hong Kong-based Cathay has suffered a sharp drop in business since the September terrorist attacks in the USA. Losses are expected for the second half, but the airline still anticipates posting a small profit for the full year ended 31 December.

The airline has said it is doing what it can to avoid lay-offs and is offering its employees up to one year of unpaid leave. Cathay employs around 14,000 staff but foresees a surplus this year of 200-300 cabin crew, 200 cockpit crew and 200-300 ground staff.

Pilots represented by the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers' Association voted on 19 December to restart the action in the form of strict contract compliance from 2 January. This means pilots will abide by the terms of their original contracts and will not work on days off.

Source: Flight International