Cathay Pacific said all Hong Kong-based crewmembers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before September 1, a move to guarantee airline safety and a necessary step for the recovery of the international air travel industry.
After very careful consideration, we have now made the decision that all Hong Kong-based crewmembers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 31 of 2021, the airlines said in a note sent to the Global Times on Friday.
We will review the future employment of those who are unable to become vaccinated and assess whether they can continue to be employed as aircrew with Cathay Pacific, the company said.
We have previously informed our pilots and cabin crew that it was highly likely that vaccination against COVID-19 would become a requirement for all aircrew at Cathay Pacific. It is becoming clear that only fully vaccinated aircrew will be able to return without quarantine from most places. Furthermore, only fully vaccinated crew have been permitted to operate on certain higher-risk routes, and only fully vaccinated crew are able to operate quarantine free "bubble" flights, the carrier said.
Currently, 90 percent of Cathay pilots and more than 65 percent of cabin crew are vaccinated, or have pending appointments to be vaccinated.
To further strengthen the protection of airport staff, passengers and other airport users at Hong Kong International Airport, starting from August 1, Airport Authority Hong Kong will require all airport staff entering the airport restricted area to present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, according to the notice.
Under the new measure, staff will be required to have received two doses of vaccination 14 days before entering the airport restricted area; alternatively staff will have to present proof of negative test result effective at the time in order to enter the airport restricted area, the airport said.
Hong Kong detected its first local Covid-19 infection believed to involve the more infectious Delta variant, prompting authorities to lock down a residential block in Tai Po for overnight mandatory testing, according to scmp.com on Wednesday.
Wednesday's preliminary-positive case, the source of which remains unknown, involved an airport worker who lives in Tai Po, where the coronavirus was also detected in sewage samples. If confirmed, the infection would end a 16-day streak of zero local cases, the report said.
Cathay Pacific restarted a weekly passenger flight service between Guangzhou and Hong Kong from June 20. Cathay Pacific is exploring recommencing seven mainland routes covering the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xiamen, Hangzhou and Fuzhou.