Cathay Pacific lays off 3 pilots infected with COVID-19 on a layover – .

Cathay Pacific lays off 3 pilots infected with COVID-19 on a layover – .

  • The pilots were in “serious violation” of the rules of the crew
  • More than 150 other Cathay employees in quarantine
  • Hong Kong toughens rules in hopes of opening up to China

Nov. 19 (Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0293.HK) of Hong Kong said it fired three cargo pilots infected with COVID-19 during a layover in Frankfurt, for an unspecified “serious violation” of the rules of crew abroad.

“The persons concerned are no longer employed by Cathay Pacific,” the company said in a statement released Thursday.

The South China Morning Post, which first reported the shooting, cited a source as saying the pilots were suspected of having left their hotel room in Germany.

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The discovery of the infections led more than 150 other Cathay employees, including pilots and flight attendants, as well as many family members and community contacts to be sent to a government quarantine facility for three weeks.

“Following these findings, we have asked the government to reconsider the decision to place certain groups in government quarantine,” Cathay said.

Hong Kong has seen virtually no local coronavirus cases in recent months, but authorities at the global financial center have tightened quarantine rules.

Hong Kong is following Beijing’s lead by maintaining strict travel restrictions, in contrast to a global trend to open up and live with the coronavirus. The city government hopes the stricter rules will convince China, its main source of economic growth, to gradually open its border with Hong Kong.

After the pilot cases were reported last week, Cathay said it would step up compliance checks at overseas ports to ensure health and safety protocols were strictly followed during stopovers.

All of Cathay’s crew have received COVID-19 vaccines and the airline has said they will need a booster dose as well.

Strict Hong Kong rules, which include up to three weeks of hotel quarantine for arrivals, have resulted in a drop in travel demand.

Cathay said this week it was operating in October at just 10% of passenger capacity before the pandemic and saw a 97.2% drop in passenger numbers from 2019.

However, freight demand has been much more robust and the airline has reached a break-even point close to operating break-even for the period July to October.

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Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Richard Chang and Richard Pullin

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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