Cathay Pacific Airways has submitted information about all crew members who fly in mainland airspace, meeting the requirements of China’s aviation regulator, a senior official said.
Gu Xiaohong, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s general affairs department, said at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday that Cathay Pacific had handed over the crew lists on time.
A statement issued by the administration on Aug 9 required the airline to share identification details of all aircrew on flights passing through mainland airspace from Aug 11. Cathay Pacific was told that without crew lists approved by the administration, flights would not be allowed to use mainland airspace.
The regulator also said that since Saturday, Cathay Pacific may not allow employees who had taken part in illegal protests, violent acts and overly radical activities in Hong Kong to work on flights to or from the mainland, or that enter its airspace.
On Wednesday, Cathay Pacific terminated two pilots, the company said in a statement on Sina Weibo, after it had previously suspended them over their involvement in protests in Hong Kong.
One is currently facing trial in relation to attacks on Hong Kong police during protests.
Cathay Pacific’s delay in drawing clear lines with employees who supported the protest movement and took part in the illegal airport demonstration in Hong Kong angered netizens on the Chinese mainland.
“I hope Cathay Pacific will undertake more sincere actions than only talk the talk,” Sina Weibo user Fuxinghao2017 wrote.
An industry expert said the company should step up control of radical staff and upgrade its security measures.
Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and columnist at Carnoc.com, a leading civil aviation website portal in China, said, “Except for a few routes, most of Cathay Pacific’s routes fly through mainland airspace, especially flights to the mainland, Europe and North America, which account for more than half of Cathay’s revenue.”
If the company does not take serious measures to root out all radical employees and enhance internal safety controls and improve security, it might lose its advantage in the mainland market, he added.
Gu said the administration was making efforts to increase the transfer capacity of airports in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to avoid disruption to trips between the mainland and Hong Kong following recent disruptions at Hong Kong International Airport. It would boost flight capacity and make it easier for passengers to reschedule flights or get refunds, Gu added.