Cathay Pacific to comply with Hong Kong probes into COVID-19 outbreak
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd
will comply with two government investigations after
two crew members who broke self-isolation rules sparked a
COVID-19 outbreak in the city, Chairman Patrick Healy said.
In a video to staff on Tuesday reviewed by Reuters, Healy
said the airline apologized for the “disruption and anguish”
caused by the outbreak, which has led Hong Kong to shut primary
schools and has set back plans for cross-border travel with
mainland China. Cathay has fired
the crew members involved.
The video came after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on
Tuesday announced the government was investigating the breach of
isolation rules as well as Cathay carrying crew returning to
Hong Kong on cargo-only flights to avoid hotel quarantine.
Healy said the airline took “full responsibility” for the
latter decision, which it was confident was in line with
The city tightened quarantine rules for air crew after the
outbreak, leading the airline to cancel most of its planned
passenger and cargo flights in January.
Cathay will operate about 20% of its pre-pandemic cargo
capacity and around 2% of its pre-pandemic passenger flight
capacity this month.
The airline had been struggling to crew many flights even
before the rules were tightened as some destinations relied on
pilots volunteering to fly punishing rosters
involving five weeks locked in hotel rooms.
Healy said crew had collectively spent 62,000 nights in
quarantine hotels in 2021, with none contracting COVID-19 in the
first eight months of the year. All are fully vaccinated.
Cases, however, had risen since the emergence of the Omicron
variant with 11 crew contracting the variant in December, he
said in the video to staff that was first reported by Bloomberg.
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