HONG KONG – A Hong Kong pilot charged with riot in the recent political saga has been grounded, the Cathay Pacific airline confirmed Saturday, after receiving a warning by China’s aviation regulator over potential safety risks and over queries from concerned passengers and the public.
The airline also confirmed that two staff members were sacked for misconduct.
The move by the airline came after the Hong Kong community, including political parties, residents and tourists, voiced support over the decision by the nation’s aviation regulator to ban Cathay Pacific staff involved in radical protests from flying mainland routes. They also condemned the breach of passengers’ personal information after some police officers’ flight information was leaked over the political dispute that has engulfed the city for more than two months.
In a warning issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Friday, it said some flight personnel of Cathay Pacific had participated in violent acts and were charged for related crimes, but they were not being banned from flying.
Such practices have shown that there have been hidden dangers to aviation safety and security, and there are increased aviation risks from Hong Kong to the mainland, the regulator said in a statement.
On July 28, a Cathay Pacific pilot was arrested and charged with riot during an illegal protest in the western area of Hong Kong Island. The man, released on bail, was not banned from aviation activities. In the meantime, personal information of some passengers who are city police officers also was leaked.
The airline said Saturday that no flights for the pilot have been scheduled since July 30, and he wasn’t involved in any flying activities since July 15.