Cathay Pacific has initiated disciplinary proceedings against a small group of pilots and cabin crew who have refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 according to several sources quoted by local media. In total, between 60 to 80 employees are in the firing line to be sacked for refusing the jab.
Around 99 per cent of pilots at the Hong Kong-based airline are already vaccinated against COVID-19, while 93 per cent of cabin crew have received the shot. The majority of unvaccinated aircrew remain unprotected due to medical reasons or because they are on long-term leave according to the South China Morning Post.
That leaves just a small group of vaccine-hesitant aircrew who are able but unwilling to be vaccinated.
Cathay Pacific was one of the first airlines in the world to issue a vaccine mandate in late June, ordering aircrew to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. At the time only 65 per cent of cabin crew had either been vaccinated or booked an appointment.
In an attempt to boost the vaccination rate without resorting to disciplinary action, Cathay Pacific started giving away goodies to employees and offered free pre-vaccination medicals in an attempt to assuage fears that some staff have about the vaccine.
Cathay Pacific hopes mandatory vaccination will help convince the Hong Kong government to loosen some of the toughest quarantine rules in the world. The airline claims that not a single crew member has tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the year on the back of more than 75,000 tests.
On Wednesday, Wizz Air became the second only European airline to issue a vaccine mandate for aircrew following a similar policy shift by SWISS Air last week. Germany’s Lufthansa also wants to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for pilots and cabin crew but is seeking to reach an agreement with unions before issuing the policy.
A slew of other airlines has also issued vaccine mandates including United Airlines, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Hawaiian Airlines.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.