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Cathay sacks 3 infected pilots for violating isolation guidelines

18 November 2021

By The SUN

Cathay found out that the 3 pilots left their hotel room in Frankfurt, in violation of guidelines

Cathay Pacific Airways has fired three of its cargo pilots who tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Hong Kong, saying they breached internal guidelines while abroad.

Reports say the three violated company regulations by leaving their hotel in Frankfurt for extended periods during short layovers early this month.

“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,” the airline said in a statement released on Thursday.


 The three pilots stayed in the crew hotel, Hyatt Regency Mainz, after flying out of Hng Kong.

Two of them, aged 57 and 29, left on Oct 31 for Germany and returned on November 6 on cargo flight CX2066 from Frankfurt.  

The third pilot, who is 53, left Hong Kong on Nov 3 for Germany and returned from Frankfurt on Nov. 7 on flight CX3166.


All tested negative on arrival, and because they enjoyed quarantine exemption, were allowed to go home.

But subsequent tests showed they were infected with Covid-19 with the Delta variant, which carried a mutation commonly seen in Germany.

The Centre for Health Protection had earlier said that during interviews with health authorities, the three maintained they never left their hotel room.


This prompted CHP to conclude that there was a Covid-19 outbreak in their hotel, and ordered 130 other aircrew who had also stayed there to undergo compulsory quarantine. 

More than 120 kids at DBIS were moved to a quarantine centre after one of pilots tested positive

More than 120 kindergarten and primary grade pupils of Discovery Bay International School were also moved to Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre as one of the pilots' wife teaches there and two of his sons are students.

Reacting to news of the breach, the Transport and Housing Bureau said it deeply regretted the cargo crew’s non-compliance with the requirements of the closed-loop operation during their layover in Frankfurt.

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Considering the severity of the incident, the Bureau said it has already directed Cathay to seriously investigate the incident and ensure that it does not happen again.

The Bureau noted that Cathay recently tightened the rules for its air cargo staff, including daily post-arrival testing for all returning crew, stricter monitoring of compliance with the closed-loop operation during layovers abroad, imposing more stringent rules during their medical surveillance periods, and requiring all air crew to take a third dose of a Covid vaccine.

Speaking about the incident early this week, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Cathay agreed to impose more restrictions on air crew on the first three days of their return to Hong Kong.


This includes leaving home for a maximum of two hours to buy food or seek medical attention, and taking a Covid-19 test regularly.

Before the stepped-up measures, the airline merely relied on the self-discipline of crew members when it came to compliance guidelines.

Meanwhile, the CHP reported four new Covid-19 cases today, involving arrivals from Singapore, Germany (and Portugal), United Kingdom and Pakistan (via United Arab Emirates).

Two tested positive on arrival at Hong Kong airport, and the other two during quarantine.

All were fully vaccinated, but carried the L452R mutant strain of the coronavirus.

They took Hong Kong’s total tally to 12,395 confirmed cases and one probable case.

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