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Hong Kong Airlines axed 170 employees in a cost-cutting move on Wednesday according to the SCMP.

Affected staff, including flight attendants, were told to hand back their uniforms by the next day. They were also unable to access their work emails or internal company profiles – which store their salary and working hour history.

Flight attendants would be paid an extra month, plus accrued but unused annual leave, while severance would be taken into account based on years of service.

In a notice one employee received, the airline said: “We regret to inform you that based on the company’s recent review of its operational requirements, you will be made redundant.”

On Tuesday, the airline announced that the provision of services such as food, drinks, pillows and blankets will be terminated on all flights as a "precautionary measure" against the COVID-19 virus.