As just about everyone is probably aware of by now, there have been huge protests in Hong Kong for the past couple of months. I love Hong Kong and I think it’s pretty clear where I stand on this, though I won’t chime in any further because I know how the comments section can get sometimes.
Well, the South China Morning Post is reporting on how China is now looking for a new way to exert control, and it involves Cathay Pacific.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has informed Cathay Pacific that as of Saturday, August 10, 2019, they’ll have to restrict what crews can fly to China. Specifically, staff who took part in “illegal protests,” “violent actions,” and “overly radical activities” wouldn’t be allowed to operate flights to mainland China.
Furthermore, as of Sunday, August 11, 2019, Cathay Pacific will have to submit identification details of all crews on all flights that use mainland Chinese airspace. So this isn’t just restricted to crews operating flights to mainland China, but even those overflying China enroute to other destinations would have their details submitted to the Chinese government
If Cathay Pacific doesn’t comply then they’ll no longer be allowed to use Chinese airspace.
According to the statement:
“The CAAC has issued a severe aviation risk warning after numerous recent incidents exposed safety risks by Hong Kong Cathay Pacific.
Recently, a Cathay Pacific pilot involved in violent activities was charged with rioting but the person was not suspended from flight duties. There was also leakage of passenger information with malicious intent. These have had an adverse social impact and increased the possibility of aviation risks spreading from Hong Kong to the mainland.”
For now, Cathay Pacific has issued the following statement:
“We are treating it seriously and are following up accordingly.
The safety of our passengers is always the top priority of Cathay Pacific. There is zero tolerance for any inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour that may affect aviation safety. We deal with these incidents very seriously.”
I’m curious to see how this is dealt with. One of the major concerns here is how open-ended this is. It’s obvious that lots of Cathay Pacific employees are participating in the protests (lots of flights have been canceled because of this), so saying that staff that took part in protests shouldn’t be allowed to fly to mainland China sure puts a lot of people at risk.
How is Cathay Pacific supposed to determine who all participated in the protest, and what happens if it’s found out that someone on a flight to mainland China did in fact participate in a protest?
What a mess… and just a week later it was announced that Cathay Pacific’s CEO is resigning.