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Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific loses more than 400 pilots due to its ‘Zero-Covid’ policy

The Hong Kong government has recently followed China’s “zero COVID” strategy, leading to a wave of 400 pilot resignations from Cathay Pacific Airways in the past year.

According to Bloomberg, the carrier’s top management said at a town hall on Jan. 27 that a surge in pilot resignations in November stayed high through January and is expected to remain high in the coming months.

In an emailed response, Cathay said it “will do everything we can to maintain vital connections for passengers and cargo into and out of Hong Kong, including retaining, hiring and rehiring current and former Cathay pilots in Hong Kong.”

According to reports, the main reason for this is that the Hong Kong regime has blamed two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants for the COVID-19 virus pandemic in Hong Kong. The two were also formally arrested and charged in mid-January for allegedly breaching the city’s coronavirus restrictions. They were later expelled from Cathay Pacific.

On Jan. 18, Carrie Lam alleged two former staff members of the airline “violated [epidemic regulations].”

Police reported that the two returned to Hong Kong from the United States on Dec. 24 and 25 and then conducted “unnecessary activities” during their home isolation period. As a result, they were both eventually found to be carriers of the fast-spreading Omicron strain.

Hong Kong’s zero-Covid approach also affected the physical and mental health of the crew and eventually sparked a wave of pilot resignations late last year.
Cathay Pacific employed roughly 2,700 pilots as of the end of 2021, down from more than 3,100 in early 2021. As Financial Times reported, the airline would also provide bonuses of up to $3700 to pilots who fly so-called closed loops, in which crews spend several weeks staying in hotel quarantine in Hong Kong before being allowed to return home.

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