Cathay Pacific imposes tough new rules on aircrew

A flight crew from Cathay Pacific Airways, wearing protective masks, gather in the international terminal after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific is imposing tough new restrictions on its aircrews, as it tries to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Those returning to the city from layovers abroad have been told to remain at home and “avoid unnecessary social contact” for a total of 21 days. The latest regulations are due to come into effect on Wednesday.

Last month, Hong Kong tightened its Covid-19 rules, which are already some of the strictest in the world.

Other than a few exemptions – including diplomats and business leaders – most arrivals in Hong Kong have to undergo between 14 and 21 days of hotel quarantine.

Now under Cathay’s new rules, in the first three days after arriving in Hong Kong aircrew have been told that they must remain at home, other than for the following essential activities (maximum 2 hours per day) :

Purchasing food and essential daily necessities

Outdoor solo exercising

Seeking medical attention/purchasing essential medical supplies

Completing the mandatory post-arrival testing requirements

Crew members then have to “avoid unnecessary social contact” for a further 18 days and continue daily testing.

The announcement also reminded aircrews to stick to the airline’s strict isolation rules while on layovers in other countries.

Under those rules aircrew must go directly to their hotel as a group in pre-arranged company transport and wear a face mask for the entirety of that journey.

Once at the hotel they must stay in their room for the duration of the layover, including meal times.

The company also said that “all crew members are required to get their third dose of Covid-19 vaccine, as soon as possible after the completion of the six-month interval from their second dose of vaccination and no later than 30th April 2022”.

Cathay has also been asking pilots whether they would be able to relocate outside Hong Kong, as the airline considers contingency plans in the event of a severe staff shortage.

On Monday, Cathay said that any aircrew members who had stayed in Frankfurt this month would need to undergo a 21-day quarantine in a government facility after three pilots on cargo flights from the German city were confirmed to have the coronavirus.

As a precautionary measure, the airline said it would suspend layovers in Frankfurt for cargo crew and require crew to take daily Covid-19 tests.

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