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Cathay Pacific asks all employees to take three weeks' unpaid leave

Airline also cuts mainland China flights by 90% amid coronavirus outbreak

HONG KONG -- Cathay Pacific Airways is asking all of its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave in the coming months, CEO Augustus Tang told staff on Wednesday. The request comes one day after the Hong Kong flag carrier announced a 90% cut in mainland China flights due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"This has been one of the most difficult Chinese New Year holidays we have ever had," Tang told Cathay employees in an internal video announcement seen by the Nikkei Asian Review, as he introduced the "special leave scheme" under which all employees will have the option of taking three weeks of unpaid leave from March 1 to June 30.

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