HONG KONG, 14 September 2021: Cathay Pacific could be one of the first airlines worldwide to fire aircrew who declined to receive available vaccines.
The airline, in a statement to local media in Hong Kong, confirmed it had “parted company with an undisclosed number of aircrew who chose not to receive available vaccines and didn’t provide proof of any medical exemption.”
“The pandemic has also had a huge impact on us operationally, and border controls around the world have dramatically reduced our ability to operate with unvaccinated aircrew,” the airline stated.
Cathay introduced flights operated by a fully vaccinated crew 1 September and had asked all flight crews to be fully inoculated by the end of August or face an employment review, according to a China Daily report.
Cathay Pacific also confirmed the closure of its London-based pilot centre while it offers pilots a transfer to work in Hong Kong or take a redundancy package. According to Hong Kong media reports Cathay Pacific will also assess the last few overseas pilot bases in the United States in response to the impact of the pandemic.
Cathay Pacific Airways lost approximately HK$21.6 billion last year, and the airline closed its pilot bases in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Germany earlier this year, focusing its business on Hong Kong where pilots have accepted pay cuts to keep their jobs.
The airline has also filed a complaint with Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority regarding the application of a new Chinese airline Greater Bay Area Airline, that plans to fly services from Hong Kong to Southeast Asia and mainland China.
It argued that the licensing authority should consider the current difficult operating environment faced by the local air service industry when considering new applications. Greater Bay Airlines is looking to launch within the first quarter of 2022.