Cathay Pacific takes extreme measures to avoid quarantine requirement for flight crew
02/23/2021|3:26:25 PM|The Washington Post

Cathay Pacific is taking extreme measures to cope with new rules that will require flight crew to quarantine in Hong Kong from Saturday, introducing a rotation policy that puts staff out of action for almost one month at a time after they've completed 21-day shifts.

Crew members who volunteer to take part in the airline's so-called closed loop plan must isolate at Cathay's Headland Hotel whenever they return to Hong Kong during their 21-day duty cycle. Once the three-week shift is over, they'll need to self-isolate for 14 days in a hotel in Taikoo Shing on Hong Kong Island. Then they'll get 14 days time off, bringing the full duty cycle to 49 days.

Cathay has said the requirement for crew to quarantine could add as much as $HK400 million ($A65.4 million) to its monthly cash burn, which is already as high as HK$1.5 billion due to an unprecedented slump in demand for air travel. The new measures, which come after Hong Kong extended the mandatory quarantine period for people arriving in the city, are aimed at shoring up the border, even as new daily coronavirus cases ease to low double digits and authorities relax some social-distancing rules.

"As long as stringent quarantine measures continue to be in place in Hong Kong and elsewhere, the coming months will be extremely challenging," Cathay's Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said in a statement Wednesday.

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