‘Deep trouble’: Cathay Pacific descends further as punitive pandemic worsens
Accusations of staff breaching Covid rules latest in troubled few years for Hong Kong flag carrier
As Omicron spread to at least 50 people in Hong Kong last week the government looked to one place in particular for blame – the city’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific. Two crew were accused of breaching their home quarantine, going shopping or meeting friends, and spreading the highly transmissible variant in the city. As numbers rose, infection flow charts were published marking cases with the airline’s brand while the government launched inquiries and threatened legal action. Pro-Beijing figures and state media called for punishment.
The airline had just come off a government ban on flying key international routes, a punishment for carrying Covid-positive passengers. Around the same time the ban was imposed in late December, quarantine rules were tightened after a pilot tested positive, and then again just days later after three crew also did, and then again after the latest incidents.