"We believe that it won’t be long before we are unable to sustainably roster unvaccinated crew and it looks increasingly likely that being vaccinated will be a requirement for Hong Kong-based aircrew to continue in their role," a spokesperson from Cathay Pacific said.
On 20 May 2021, as reported in local news sources, Cathay Pacific sent an internal memo to pilots and cabin crew saying that the company foresees a future where the company won't be able to arrange flying schedules for those who do not get vaccinated, which has sparked heated debate among netizens on the possible ethical and legal pitfalls.
It was shared that the company had identified a growing trend where the aircrew must complete two doses of COVID-19 vaccines before taking up any duties, citing examples from the UK-HK flight arrangement and future travel bubbles, where it is mandatory for all aircrew to get vaccinated before the flight.
According to the current operating model, in the very near future, the company might not be able to "sustainably roster unvaccinated crew". And taking the time spent on recruiting and training inoculated replacement employees into consideration, vaccination will be the top hiring criteria.
Currently, about 3,500 flight attendants at Cathay Pacific have received their first COVID-19 jabs, with over half of them having completed the second dose.
In response to queries by Human Resources Online, a spokesperson from Cathay Pacific clarified:
"We are urging our aircrew to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it is becoming increasingly clear that being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will need to be one of the prerequisites to being employed as aircrew in international operations.
Our operational mitigations to the changing quarantine and test requirements have enabled us to keep flying. However, these patterns, while still required, are not sustainable in the long-term, from both a wellbeing and a rostering perspective.
We have recently seen a welcome reduction in some of the Hong Kong Government’s pandemic-related measures, with the most recent being relaxations to quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated crew. It is prudent to expect that other governments may introduce more stringent restrictions for unvaccinated crews while easing requirements for those that are.
In this context, we believe that it won’t be long before we are unable to sustainably roster unvaccinated crew and it looks increasingly likely that being vaccinated will be a requirement for Hong Kong-based aircrew to continue in their role.
We recognise that people must ultimately make their own decision on whether to get vaccinated. However, we are in a service industry and we have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of our employees and our customers, providing assurance to them and giving them confidence that when they fly with us they are in safe hands.”
Photo / Cathay Pacific