Ronald Lam Cathay
"We are moving mountains to rebuild as quickly as we can," Ronald Lam Cathay, CEO of Cathay Pacific said Friday. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. plans to hire about 5,000 people across the group in 2024 as flight capacity is gradually restored to pre-pandemic levels, the Hong Kong-based carrier's chief executive officer said.

"Recruitment and training is really the key factor that we need to get right in order to achieve our goal for next year," Ronald Lam told Bloomberg News at an Association of Asia Pacific Airlines meeting in Singapore on Friday.

"The scale of the rebuild is massive," he said.

Cathay was one of the hardest-hit airlines in the world during COVID as Hong Kong became isolated due to its strict entry and quarantine rules. The company, which raised billions of dollars in a recapitalization, had about 21,900 staff at the end of June, including at its subsidiaries, down from 34,000 in 2019.

"We are moving mountains to rebuild as quickly as we can," Lam said Friday.

Including catering and cargo handling units, the group has hired 5,000 people in 2023 and is at 70 per cent of pre-COVID flight capacity, ahead of schedule, he said.