Infected Cathay pilots out after ‘serious breach’

Cathay Pacific said on Thursday that three cargo pilots who sparked a mass quarantine exercise after they returned from Germany infected with Covid-19 no longer work for the company.

The airline said an internal investigation had found “a serious breach” of overseas layover requirements, but the company did not elaborate on what the pilots were alleged to have done.

The trio tested positive for the coronavirus after flying back from Frankfurt earlier this month, sparking calls for the authorities to scrap a quarantine-free arrangement for certain aircrew.

The infections also prompted health officials to send about 130 Cathay pilots into quarantine for 21 days.

“After investigation into these cases, regrettably, the findings indicate a serious breach of requirements during crew overseas layovers. The individuals concerned are no longer employed by Cathay Pacific,” a spokeswoman for the airline said.

“As a result of these findings, we have requested the government to review the decision to place certain groups into government quarantine,” the spokeswoman added, describing the Frankfurt cases as isolated incidents.

In a statement, the government said it has received Cathay’s investigation report and described the behaviour of the three pilots as unacceptable.

“Though noting that these are individual cases, considering the severity of the incident, the Transport and Housing Bureau has already directed Cathay Pacific to follow up on the matter seriously and to make the best endeavours in preventing the occurrence of similar incidents,” the statement read.

The bureau reminded all airlines to comply with anti-epidemic requirements.

Since this Covid scare, the Hong Kong flag carrier has introduced new measures limiting the movements of aircrew by not allowing them to go out in the first three days after their return to the SAR, unless their trips are deemed essential.

The company is also asking pilots if they are interested in taking part in “temporary extended roster patterns” which involve a series of duties based outside Hong Kong, for up to four months.
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Last updated: 2021-11-18 HKT 19:31