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British Airways Cabin Crew Staying at a Hotel Next to One of the Most Dangerous Townships in Cape Town Where British Doctor Was Shot Dead Last Year

British Airways Cabin Crew Staying at a Hotel Next to One of the Most Dangerous Townships in Cape Town Where British Doctor Was Shot Dead Last Year

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British Airways cabin crew are being put up in a hotel which overlooks the largest township in Africa, where a British doctor was shot and killed last year after taking a wrong turn while driving from Cape Town Airport and getting caught up in a violent and bloody protest.

The union which represents cabin crew at the airline has hit out at British Airways in a fiery memo, accusing the carrier of forcing predominately female crew members to lodge at a hotel on the edge of “one of the top five slums in the entire world” while male pilots get to stay in luxury accommodations in central Cape Town.

Up to two million people live in the tightly packed Khayelitsha township, with around 70% of residents still living in shacks. Khayelitsha is one of the poorest areas of Cape Town, and violent crime is rife.

“This township is universally acknowledged as both unsafe and with a notoriously high crime rate,” the BASSA cabin crew union slammed. “British Airways security have somehow classed the hotel as ‘safe’ whilst at the same time issuing an instruction for crew not to leave the hotel lobby as it is unsafe to do so”.

Crew members are required to get an armed guard to drive the short distance to the hotel from the airport.

In August 2023, top orthopaedic surgeon Kar Hao Teo was killed in Khayelitsha after taking a wrong turn while driving from Cape Town Airport.

“The hotel selected is just 1.2km away from the site of the murder,” the BASSA union warned its frantic members who are being forced to stay at the hotel.

The union claims British Airways made “secretive arrangements” for pilots to stay in one of the most sought-after areas of Cape Town while leaving cabin crew in what they described as “a clearly unsafe hotel”.

“That a BA department thinks that it is acceptable to treat crew like this is morally indefensible,” the memo raged.

Late last year, the same union had to confront the airline over instructions issued to female cabin crew over what type of underwear they were allowed to wear under new ‘see-through’ uniform blouses.

View Comments (3)
  • Ok, knowing which hotel we’re talking about here would lend a lot to this story, However, based on rudimentary research (done by me), the only internationally acceptable hotels near Khayelitsha are the ones adjacent to CPT airport. Because CPT airport is located adjacent to Khayelitsha township. So, this entire story is misleading as hell. The crews don’t want to stay by the airport while pilots are treated to a downtown Cape Town hotel. OK, got it. As for not wandering around outside, this is not limited to the crew hotel; most hotels around Cape Town will tell you some version of the same thing. As for a homicide having taken place 1.2 km away from the hotel, if this were a thing then there wouldn’t be anyplace to stay around OAK, JFK, LGA, EWR, MDW, ORD, DTW, LAX, STL, MIA, PHL, CDG, need I go on?

    So yes, I call nonsense on this story.

    • Umm, no. While the places you mentioned have areas near the airport that are not particularly safe the possibility of getting shot for making a wrong turn is exceedingly low. Likewise for being murdered for exiting the lobby.

      • There are NO international hotels directly in the township. Look it up. They’re all adjacent to the airport. Which is where I’m sure BA puts their crews up for the night. So the complaint surely involves one of them. Meaning: it’s exaggerated.

        And downtown hotels do caution you about not going around at night in CPT. It has one of the highest crime rates in the world.

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