Cathay Pacific says strict new quarantine guidelines may trigger ‘dramatic’ provide chain disruptions in Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific’s word of warning got here because the Hong Kong authorities introduced that, from Saturday, all cargo air crew based mostly within the metropolis who’ve stayed abroad might want to spend seven days in lodge quarantine after they return. That is up from the present three-day requirement.

The measure marks an escalation from what are already a few of the world’s most stringent and isolating restrictions, as Hong Kong makes an attempt to stamp out any hint of the coronavirus. Town, together with mainland China, is without doubt one of the final locations in Asia nonetheless adopting a “zero Covid” technique. And most of the people coming into town are pressured to quarantine in a lodge for as much as three weeks upon arrival, even when they’re inoculated.

“We’re cautious that any additional tightening of aircrew quarantine preparations would result in reductions in flight frequencies to guard the well-being of our crew members and the general security of our operations,” stated Andy Wong, common supervisor of Cathay Pacific’s company affairs division, in an announcement.

He added that such actions would trigger “dramatic disruptions to provide chains within the short-term” and undermine Hong Kong Worldwide Airport as a “main cargo hub.”

Strict quarantine guidelines have already been taking a toll on pilots on the provider.

Like employees at many airways, all Cathay flight crew are totally vaccinated. However Cathay pilots informed CNN Enterprise weeks in the past that the airline had adopted strict insurance policies for these touring to nations designated as “excessive threat,” equivalent to america, India and the UK. Pilots headed to these locations usually fly out for a number of weeks and nonetheless should quarantine in accommodations once more in Hong Kong.

“Low threat” and cargo flights have been extra lenient previously, however Friday’s announcement suggests town sees a necessity for a tightening as the specter of the Omicron coronavirus variant grows. Hong Kong simply reported its first two native circumstances of the variant, which well being authorities stated Thursday have been possible linked to a Cathay crew member.

In latest days, there had already been indicators that Hong Kong was trying to crack down much more than it already does.

Cathay Pacific stated Thursday that it will scrap an unspecified variety of passenger flights due to a “tightening” of guidelines. It added that town’s restrictions proceed to “constrain our means to function flights as deliberate.”

The corporate stated in that assertion that the flights can be canceled instantly and efficient till “tentatively the primary quarter of 2022,” including that it intends to “function a skeleton passenger flight schedule in January.”

In one other assertion Friday, Cathay stated it will droop lengthy haul cargo flights into town for per week, including that it will be “working with prospects to mitigate the disruption as a lot as potential.”

The Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau informed CNN Enterprise it has been “been intently speaking with the aviation trade with a view to sustaining clean air cargo companies into and out of Hong Kong and addressing the essential each day wants of society, whereas safeguarding public well being.”

Hong Kong’s strict guidelines have resulted in vital disruption to airways, as any business airline that arrives within the metropolis with Covid-positive passengers, or which fails to adjust to containment measures, could be quickly banned from working passenger flights.

The Hong Kong authorities has suspended some worldwide routes within the metropolis from main airways together with Qatar, Emirates, Korean Air, Turkish Airways, Cebu Pacific Air and Finnair. Sure passenger flights from cities like New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Dubai, Manila and elsewhere have additionally been banned in latest days after individuals on these flights examined optimistic.

The Hong Kong authorities has stated it is going to assessment momentary bans on flight routes in early January.