Cathay Pacific has fired three cargo pilots who contracted COVID-19 while parked in Frankfurt, Germany, citing a “serious violation” of crew requirements while abroad as the main reason for their dismissal.
Hong Kong’s flagship airline said on November 18 in a statement that “stakeholders no longer work” for the company after an internal investigation revealed they were involved in a “gross violation” of procedures during “overseas connections.”
The airline does not specify the nature of the violation.
Two pilots, aged 29 and 57, tested positive on 10 November. Four days later, the third pilot, aged 53, was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
All three stayed at the same hotel, according to the South China Morning Post.
More than 150 Cathay Pacific employees, as well as more family members and acquaintances, were sent to a government quarantine center in Hong Kong for three weeks after the infection was discovered.
While there have been few local infections in Hong Kong in recent months, city officials are strictly enforcing quarantine regulations that follow Beijing’s lead in maintaining strict travel restrictions.
After pilots tested positive for COVID-19, the airline has stepped up compliance checks at international airports to ensure health and safety regulations are followed during transfers.
“In particular, we will issue further instructions to strengthen the requirements for movement of crews in the local community during periods of medical supervision,” – said in a statement on November 12.
All Cathay crew members are vaccinated and frequently tested for the CCP virus. The airline also requires all eligible crew to receive a third dose of vaccine.
The Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) also issued a statement expressing disappointment with the latest developments and demanded that the airline take action on the matter and “do whatever it takes” to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“THB deeply regrets the failure of the respective cargo crew to comply with the closed loop requirements during their anchorage at the respective port and can hardly accept this,” the statement said.