Cathay Pacific has had a rough several weeks, following everything that’s going on in Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific’s CEO suddenly resigned, and staff have been warned not to participate in the “illegal protests,” or they could be terminated. Suffice to say morale at the company is low.
However, could frustration be causing someone to try to sabotage Cathay Pacific’s operations?
Cathay Pacific’s Empty Oxygen Bottles
As reported by Danny Lee at SCMP, Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department are now investigating something that has allegedly happened at the airline three times recently. Specifically, oxygen bottles on three different flights have now been tampered with, and were either partially or completely empty.
To start, on both August 17 and August 18, Cathay Pacific 777s flying from Hong Kong to Toronto landed with oxygen bottles that had been tampered with. Each flight had 22 oxygen bottles, and in total 13 bottles had been tampered with, between the two flights.
Then this past Friday a third incident occurred. Prior to a Cathay Dragon flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, an oxygen bottle was discovered to be empty. During the inspection the previous night all bottles were full, which makes the airline wonder what is going on.
What’s The Motive?
It is important to clarify that in all of these instances we’re talking about oxygen bottles that are used in the event of an emergency, and not the plane’s primary oxygen system.
In other words, the odds of this actually being an issue are very small, since depleted oxygen tanks are only an issue in the case of an emergency. These are the tanks that the crew would use in an emergency, and not even the supply for the oxygen masks for passengers in the event of a depressurization.
I also find it interesting that in all cases only a minority of the tanks had been tampered with.
What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t look like anyone is actually trying to cause great harm, since it’s highly unlikely they’d get to the point where this becomes the difference between life and death.
Rather it seems that someone is trying to send a message — and a very subtle one at that — about their frustration.
Something I’m not aware of, but would be curious to hear from experts on, is whether this is even definitely sabotage. In other words, what are the chances that these just malfunctioned for whatever reason, and given the situation at Cathay Pacific, people are just assuming it’s worse than it is? Could it be that in the third case they just hadn’t done a proper inspection the night before, and that’s what triggered all of this?
I’ll be curious to see if there are more instances of this, or if they discover who is behind this…