Cathay Pacific aircrew fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

A Cathay Pacific aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: Facebook/Cathay Pacific
A Cathay Pacific aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: Facebook/Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has fired crew members who refused the COVID-19 vaccine, following through with earlier threats that pilots and flight attendants unwilling to get jabbed could lose their jobs.

The airline said in an emailed statement Wednesday that it had let go a “small number” of unvaccinated cabin crew who did not provide proof of medical exemption.

“It’s clear to us all now that Covid-19 is a terrible virus and that keeping our customers, communities and families safe is of the utmost importance,” Cathay said.

Last week, the Hong Kong airline said it has high vaccination rates among its staff, with 99% of pilots and 93% of cabin crew having already booked or received their COVID-19 shots.

It added that it would “continue to review the future employment” of those who are still yet to get jabbed.

Since Sept. 1, all Cathay Pacific flights have been operated by fully vaccinated aircrew, according to the carrier.

Airlines around the world are also pressuring their staff to get jabbed. Reuters reported that Asian airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, are seeing high vaccination take-up rates among crew.

As of official data Wednesday evening, just under 55% of Hong Kong’s population is fully vaccinated, while 64% have had their first shot.

While Chief Executive Carrie Lam has continued to emphasize the importance of a high vaccination rate in order for Hong Kong borders to reopen, many have criticized the government for not taking more proactive steps to incentivize jabs.

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