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BA to close HKG base [confirmed for Cabin Crew]

BA to close HKG base [confirmed for Cabin Crew]

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Old Sep 29, 18, 2:12 am   -   Wikipost
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Old Sep 25, 18, 12:37 pm
  #16  
 
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I think I read over in the CX forum that Cathay are doing pretty much the same shuttering their outstation bases. Not that it makes it any better
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Old Sep 25, 18, 12:40 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
the race to the bottom continues.
At least BA are the best at something.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 5:48 pm
  #18  
 
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On my few visits to HK, I've been surprised by how little english is spoken. I was expecting something like SG where its common.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 5:56 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
As BA found out with hiring Japanese speakers any decent applicants wonít work for BA for peanuts and either donít bother to apply or leave very quickly.
AMEN to that. As someone who speaks Japanese well - to be able to serve a Japanese customer well you need to be pretty darned fluent in the language and be able to speak keigo well (eg you've lived in the country for a few years) or you just come across as rude. Especially for high flying premium cabin customers if you can't speak the language well just don't bother and stick to English as you'll just make a bad impression and the high spending Japanese customer will just run off back to ANA / JAL.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 5:59 pm
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Many, many "local" Chinese restaurants in HKG have zero English speakers. Travel outside the Tourism and Banking areas nowadays, and English is quite rare. And we are not going to send out the gunboats to change it.

And BA closing its local presence is completely daft.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 7:27 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by Ancient Observer View Post
Many, many "local" Chinese restaurants in HKG have zero English speakers. Travel outside the Tourism and Banking areas nowadays, and English is quite rare. And we are not going to send out the gunboats to change it.

And BA closing its local presence is completely daft.
IF you mean Hong Kong, I don't know where/how/why you have this impression, and I respectfully disagree. I visited HK at least once up to 4 times a year, I can HARDLY, but not impossible, find a local Chinese restaurant (ie Tea Restaurant) servers are not able to communicate in English, they have English menu nonetheless. While I understand NOT all server can speak English, they certainly have someone who is able to communicate in English. Even "Hawkers" in Shenzhen/HK boarder would able to communicate in English, not fluent, but one certainly can understand what they are selling.

English is VERY common and basic in HK, just like Singapore. They teach English in their school system, so basically anyone finish/attend their high school (Form 1-5) in HK, should able to communicate basic English (I am definitely not saying all can speak well). I am probably exaggerating, but I felt, more ppl speak English than Mandarin (different language to Cantonese). They don't even have Mandarin class until maybe 20 years ago (around 1997), but English as a study subject forever. Therefore, your statement probably true if this is 20-30 years ago, but not anymore.

Last edited by Fly2Where; Sep 25, 18 at 7:40 pm
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Old Sep 25, 18, 9:42 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by sxc View Post
My limited experience flying the HKG route is that there are a higher proportion of non-HK people on BA compared to CX. Additionally the Chinese on these flights are more likely to be HK people rather than other asians since BA doesnít have connecting traffic from China like CX does. HK people generally speak English so thereís not such a demand for Cantonese speaking crew.
erm. no. there are bus-loads of chinese from southern china who is on the back of the a-bus. cuz canlhr flies on silly hours.

on the good side BA may get rid of these low-yielding pax.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 9:51 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by NeedstoFly View Post
On my few visits to HK, I've been surprised by how little english is spoken. I was expecting something like SG where its common.
Originally Posted by gypsyjaney View Post



With the approach and then the advent of 1997 many local Chinese stopped bothering to learn much or any English. In fact a friend of mine was only recently turned away from a shop because he did not speak any Chinese. They refused to serve him.
Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
Thatís what I used to think sxc but surprisingly I am finding many non English speaking customers on our flights.
Originally Posted by Ancient Observer View Post
Many, many "local" Chinese restaurants in HKG have zero English speakers. Travel outside the Tourism and Banking areas nowadays, and English is quite rare. And we are not going to send out the gunboats to change it.

And BA closing its local presence is completely daft.
Originally Posted by Fly2Where View Post
IF you mean Hong Kong, I don't know where/how/why you have this impression, and I respectfully disagree. I visited HK at least once up to 4 times a year, I can HARDLY, but not impossible, find a local Chinese restaurant (ie Tea Restaurant) servers are not able to communicate in English, they have English menu nonetheless. While I understand NOT all server can speak English, they certainly have someone who is able to communicate in English. Even "Hawkers" in Shenzhen/HK boarder would able to communicate in English, not fluent, but one certainly can understand what they are selling.

English is VERY common and basic in HK, just like Singapore. They teach English in their school system, so basically anyone finish/attend their high school (Form 1-5) in HK, should able to communicate basic English (I am definitely not saying all can speak well). I am probably exaggerating, but I felt, more ppl speak English than Mandarin (different language to Cantonese). They don't even have Mandarin class until maybe 20 years ago (around 1997), but English as a study subject forever. Therefore, your statement probably true if this is 20-30 years ago, but not anymore.
it REALLY depends on your extent of hong kong. not only some kids cant be bothered to learn english, 150 chinapersons are sent to hongkong every day so there is now a million of them, mostly non-skilled on a "family union" reason who will divorce shortly after they get into the "husbands" social housing.

SO, if you go to those social housing estate, i shall bet on my last penny english wouldnt get you anywhere.

Some of the hawkers near the border originates from the closest village groups in rural HK from back in the days. So no surprising they speak some english - it runs down the group.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 10:45 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by Fly2Where View Post
IF you mean Hong Kong, I don't know where/how/why you have this impression, and I respectfully disagree. I visited HK at least once up to 4 times a year, I can HARDLY, but not impossible, find a local Chinese restaurant (ie Tea Restaurant) servers are not able to communicate in English, they have English menu nonetheless. While I understand NOT all server can speak English, they certainly have someone who is able to communicate in English. Even "Hawkers" in Shenzhen/HK boarder would able to communicate in English, not fluent, but one certainly can understand what they are selling.

English is VERY common and basic in HK, just like Singapore. They teach English in their school system, so basically anyone finish/attend their high school (Form 1-5) in HK, should able to communicate basic English (I am definitely not saying all can speak well). I am probably exaggerating, but I felt, more ppl speak English than Mandarin (different language to Cantonese). They don't even have Mandarin class until maybe 20 years ago (around 1997), but English as a study subject forever. Therefore, your statement probably true if this is 20-30 years ago, but not anymore.
I laughed when I read that. I am willing to bet that you have not ventured out of within 3KM of Central / Soho.

Standard of HK English has been going down for years from what I understand. When I first arrived 6 years ago I thought that English would have been ubiquitous (as a formal English colony), however that is not true. In fact, young people these days are more fluent in Mandarin than English.

Try hopping onto a taxi and saying some place in English and see here that gets you (though I have taken taxis where some old man spoke very good English - those are rare).

My landlord's son is ~35 and can't communicate in English (or even Mandarin) at all. His Dad can't too.

And on the local "Tea Restaurant" or "Chaa Chan Teng" - let's pick a random one not visited by tourists even in Wan Chai. Chances are they can't speak English (or even have an English menu). Or try going to the wet market and using English... its really tough!
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Old Sep 25, 18, 10:45 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by sxc View Post
My limited experience flying the HKG route is that there are a higher proportion of non-HK people on BA compared to CX. Additionally the Chinese on these flights are more likely to be HK people rather than other asians since BA doesnít have connecting traffic from China like CX does. HK people generally speak English so thereís not such a demand for Cantonese speaking crew.
My experience is that it varies. Sometimes there are more HK people and sometimes there are more PRC flyers and sometimes there are more people of a European ethnicity, both on BA and CX, at least in the vicinity of my seat, in the three lower cabins (not been able to fly in F yet).

I think it's more accurate to say that HK people who fly to the UK are more likely to speak English to a reasonable standard, compared to people from the PRC, possibly because a lot of the HK people live in the UK.

Originally Posted by Twin aisled View Post
Also, I am sure more people speak Spanish, than Cantonese, yet they still had issues on those other flights.
Wrt the previous quote, it may be the case that more Mandarin speakers are required on HKG flights. There are more Mandarin speakers than Spanish.


Originally Posted by NeedstoFly View Post
On my few visits to HK, I've been surprised by how little english is spoken. I was expecting something like SG where its common.
English is a lingua franca between the residents of Singapore and is the first/native language of many Singaporeans.

In Hong Kong English is only used professionally (e.g. in medicine and law) and to communicate to tourists and expats. It is almost never the native language of a HKer unless they were raised in an English-speaking country.


Originally Posted by Ancient Observer View Post
Many, many "local" Chinese restaurants in HKG have zero English speakers. Travel outside the Tourism and Banking areas nowadays, and English is quite rare.
It's always been the case not just nowadays. If you failed English at school then you are hardly going to get a job where you need good English. If you don't interact with any English speakers (which you don't if you run a shop / cafe in a housing estate), there is no need or opportunity to improve your English.

The gradual influx of mainland Chinese over the past 20 years means that a lot of them have found jobs in restaurants, and those people didn't learn English at school (and may not have gone to school at all). Some of them can barely speak Cantonese although they try.


Originally Posted by Fly2Where View Post
I visited HK at least once up to 4 times a year, I can HARDLY, but not impossible, find a local Chinese restaurant (ie Tea Restaurant) servers are not able to communicate in English, they have English menu nonetheless. While I understand NOT all server can speak English, they certainly have someone who is able to communicate in English.
So you just visit HK a few times, do you ever go anywhere outside of the main urban areas? Plenty of places that stuck their menu into some translation service or had someone who did a reasonable translation many years ago but have never updated it. Though you are probably right that chances are there will be one person who can speak some English, because they are younger and remember some of it from school.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 11:51 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
A few hundred long serving loyal cabin crew loose their jobs and there will be no Cantonese speaking crew onboard, it matters!
I seriously doubt this...London is chock full of people from every nation. Just like Air Canada, (who may or may not have an HK base, I don't know) it's plenty easy for them to recruit cabin crew of differing origins who speak other languages. I do feel for the people who lose their jobs, I don't really think it impacts the passengers much.
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Old Sep 26, 18, 1:27 am
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
I seriously doubt this...London is chock full of people from every nation. Just like Air Canada, (who may or may not have an HK base, I don't know) it's plenty easy for them to recruit cabin crew of differing origins who speak other languages. I do feel for the people who lose their jobs, I don't really think it impacts the passengers much.
Yeah you're right but are those people really going to want to go and work for BA on the current starting salaries at London wages ?.

If someone has got any form of decent language skills ( by this I mean University level graduate / spent time in the country ) they will be able to get a job with a much higher stating salary than BA.

I am not well versed in Cantonese works but I can tell you that someone with GCSE / A-Level Japanese will NOT cut it in premium cabins trying to communicate to a high flying Japanese customer in their native language. Japanese has very complex speech patterns depending on who you are talking to and the most demanding customers can look down VERY much on the slightest language mistakes.

At the very simplest level you could say its like knowing how to say "Wanna drink?" vs "Would Sir care for a drink?".

Not to mention being able to read when a Japanese client is using tatemae as well - knowig when they are saying one thing and meaning something else.
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Old Sep 26, 18, 1:39 am
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by mrploddy View Post
knowig when they are saying one thing and meaning something else.
A skill I failed to master while married to my two ex-wives!
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Old Sep 26, 18, 2:06 am
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by Fly2Where View Post
IF you mean Hong Kong, I don't know where/how/why you have this impression, and I respectfully disagree. I visited HK at least once up to 4 times a year, I can HARDLY, but not impossible, find a local Chinese restaurant (ie Tea Restaurant) servers are not able to communicate in English, they have English menu nonetheless. While I understand NOT all server can speak English, they certainly have someone who is able to communicate in English. Even "Hawkers" in Shenzhen/HK boarder would able to communicate in English, not fluent, but one certainly can understand what they are selling.

English is VERY common and basic in HK, just like Singapore. They teach English in their school system, so basically anyone finish/attend their high school (Form 1-5) in HK, should able to communicate basic English (I am definitely not saying all can speak well). I am probably exaggerating, but I felt, more ppl speak English than Mandarin (different language to Cantonese). They don't even have Mandarin class until maybe 20 years ago (around 1997), but English as a study subject forever. Therefore, your statement probably true if this is 20-30 years ago, but not anymore.
I just moved to HK after living in Malaysia for a while and I have to say that English is much less common in HK than in Malaysia. If you go to Central, Wanchai, yes it's easy to meet people speaking English, but if you go a bit outside of those areas, there's a lot of places where nobody speaks English, even in Kennedy Town where I live, people working in Cha Chaan Teng don't speak English at all. And on the Kowloon side, English is much less common (Mandarin is quite common there though).

I was surprised when comparing to KL and Penang because the level of English of the average Malaysian is definitely higher (even if it is similar to Singlish and has cute expressions like Can can lah).


Back to the topic on hand, I'm flying first class from HKG to LHR in January, I selfishly hope the base doesn't close before that (and that the crew is not depressed because of that)
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Old Sep 26, 18, 2:31 am
  #30  
 
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Confirmed to close after 31 October 2018.

All their staff received the letter from BA. Bad news.
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