Cathay Pacific has announced the firing of two air crew members for violating severe COVID-19 rules.
After returning to the city after flight duty, five members of the Hong Kong-based airline’s crew tested positive for the Omicron type of COVID-19.
Cathay acknowledged in a statement to AeroTime on January 3, 2022 that the positive tests were recorded when they were under medical supervision in Hong Kong.
“Regrettably, our investigation into these cases has indicated a serious breach of protocols by some of those individuals,” the airline said. “Failure to comply with medical surveillance regulations will lead to disciplinary procedures. Two of the individuals are no longer employed by Cathay Pacific.”
Hong Kong has some of the strongest COVID-19 quarantine measures in the world, in an effort to curb the virus’s spread.
“The actions of these individuals are extremely disappointing, as they undermine the otherwise exemplary dedication and compliance shown by our over 10,000 aircrew,” Cathay said in the statement. “Cathay Pacific is acutely aware of the critical importance of complying with anti-pandemic measures both in Hong Kong and overseas, and apologizes for the inconvenience and disruption caused by these non-compliant cases.”
After cases of the Omicron variety were discovered in the community, the government strengthened its regulations for air crew.
All air cargo personnel based in Hong Kong will be required to reside in designated quarantine hotels until a negative PCR test is done on the seventh day following their arrival, according to new measures published on December 31, 2021. When they leave the quarantine hotels, they will be subjected to additional tests.
Cathay Pacific has banned all long-haul freighter and cargo-only passenger flights for seven days, until January 6, 2022, as a result of the stricter COVID-19 restrictions.
“We will be working with customers to mitigate the disruption as much as possible,” the airline said. “In addition, we are working with the relevant stakeholders on plans beyond 6 January and will communicate further on these as soon as possible.”
Cathay Pacific has taken disciplinary action against crews who have violated COVID-19 guidelines before. Cargo pilots were sacked in November after breaking rules during a layover in Frankfurt, Germany.
FedEx, however, has decided to relocate its pilots out of Hong Kong due to the tight limitations and the negative impact on crews.