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The global aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines were expected to suffer a roughly 60 per cent plunge in passenger numbers in 2020, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).  

Fleets of planes are parked in airports and countless journeys have been cancelled. Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific struggles to survive the pandemic. The airline cut a total of 8,500 jobs and shut down its subsidiary, Cathay Dragon. The carrier received a HK $39 billion government cash injection to sustain its operation.

IATA’s analysis issued in April shows that some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel. Employees in the industry are living in the fear of job loss.

In this issue of Varsity, we try to examine the changes and challenges faced by the aviation industry in Hong Kong, China, and South Korea in 2020.

Varsity’s Periscope section reporters talk to flight attendants and pilots who are facing unprecedented challenges such as changing their lifelong career due to the pandemic. We also speak to aviation technicians and aviation-major students who face a challenging time in their job hunt.

In this issue, Varsity also looks into other social issues such as “Period Poverty” in China, VPN use by Chinese students of overseas universities who are now trapped at home, and the podcast industry boom in Taiwan. We also cover new players in the delivery service industry who want to boost the yellow economy and introduce “bulimia”, a potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Our People section features great stories of a Hong Kong film director Chow Kwun-wai, a Mainland Chinese pornstar June Liu, a South Korean drag queen, and Kang Jung-hwa, a veteran nurse who was infected by COVID-19.

Enjoy the read and wish you all the best in the coming 2021!

Lasley Lui

Managing Editor