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Cathay Pacific Says Get Vaccinated or Get Off Our Premises

Cathay Pacific Says Get Vaccinated or Get Off Our Premises

Cathay Pacific has told staff that they’ll make it a lot harder for anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the airline’s Hong Kong offices and other facilities in the latest attempt to boost vaccination rates amongst employees.

In a new internal memo, Cathay’s director of people Patricia Hwang says employees who still refuse to have the vaccine will have to take a COVID-19 test at least every fortnight in order to be granted access to the airline’s buildings.

Cabin crew and pilots have been told they might be fired if they decline the jab. As of late June, around 90 per cent of Cathay’s pilots had been vaccinated while the rate amongst cabin crew was lagging behind at around 65 per cent.

The airline has attempted to coax staff to get the vaccine by offering a sweepstake with frequent flyer miles and “other goodies” up for grabs. Hong Kong granted airline staff priority access to the vaccine back in February but Cathay Pacific is still trying to persuade some vaccine sceptic staff to take up the offer.

“We are incredibly fortunate in Hong Kong to have a vaccination programme available to all residents over the age of 12,” Hwang says in the latest memo.

“The Delta variant and other COVID-19 strains that have recently been found present in Hong Kong, are very concerning and as a responsible employer it is our obligation to ensure that we have as safe a working environment as possible,” the memo continues.

“The decision has been made that from 1 September it will be a requirement that in order to enter Cathay premises, everyone will need to have taken the necessary doses of the vaccine type you have received or be tested every two weeks”.

Cathay Pacific isn’t the first airline to have introduced similar vaccine requirements. Dubai-based carrier Emirates makes vaccine-hesitant staff take regular PCR tests at their own expense, while Australian regional carrier Alliance Aviation will require all of its employees to take the shot when they become eligible.

In the U.S., both Delta and United Airlines have made vaccination a requirement for all new employees. Both carriers have, however, stopped short of making the vaccine compulsory for existing staff.

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