Now Reading
Cathay Pacific Will Hire Mainland Chinese Flight Attendants Following Discrimination Furore

Cathay Pacific Will Hire Mainland Chinese Flight Attendants Following Discrimination Furore

rows of seats with monitors on the back

Cathay Pacific says it will start hiring more cabin crew from mainland China as it attempts to improve the onboard experience for Mandarin speakers following a discrimination furore that lead to several flight attendants being terminated.

Cathay Pacific has faced criticism for not doing enough to address the needs of Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese passengers, given the fact that the majority of its Hong Kong-based cabin crew speak Cantonese and English but not Mandarin.

The issue came to a head last month after a Mandarin-speaking passenger on a flight from Chengdu to Hong Kong recorded a Cathay Pacific flight attendant apparently mocking them over their English proficiency.

In the viral video, a crew member made fun of the passenger because when they asked for a blanket, they mistakenly called it a ‘carpet’. The flight attendant was heard saying that the passenger couldn’t have a blanket unless they used the correct word, but that they were welcome to lay on the carpeted floor.

“With the growing number of Putonghua-speaking customers, it has always been our intention to recruit a proportion of cabin crew from the Chinese Mainland after the pandemic,” Cathay Pacific CEO Ronald Lam said in a memo sighted by Bloomberg’s Danny Lee.

Putonghua is the official language of mainland China and is a form of Mandarin which is also referred to as ‘Standard Chinese’. It is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin.

“We plan to start the recruitment process of cabin crew in the Chinese mainland from July,” continued Monday’s memo from Lam.

The embattled chief executive attempted to reassure staffers that the majority of cabin crew would remain Hong Kong-based, although Lam noted that the airline had a long history of recruiting ‘international’ cabin crew.

Before the pandemic, Cathay Pacific had foreign crew bases in several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Thailand.

The Cathay Pacific flight attendants union says low pay and low morale may have contributed to last month’s discrimination incident, although the union said it expressed “deep regret” over the event.

Lam fears the fallout from the incident has caused “significant damage” to Cathay’s reputation in Mainland China and has ordered extra training for cabin crew which will begin next month.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.