Cathay and Swire Pacific issue statements to back HK government

Amid heavy scrutiny by the Chinese government, customers, and investors, Cathay Pacific has issued a statement expressing the company’s concern over the current situation in Hong Kong.

The home carrier in Hong Kong said: “Cathay Pacific is deeply concerned by the ongoing violence and disruption impacting Hong Kong. We resolutely support the Hong Kong SAR Government, the chief executive and the police in their efforts to restore law and order. We condemn all illegal activities and violent behaviour, which seriously undermines the fundamental principle of the ‘one country two systems’ as enshrined in the basic law.”

Cathay Pacific had been ordered to hand over identifying information of staff on China-bound flights starting on Sunday, while CEO Rupert Hogg said on Monday that staff who “support or participate in illegal protests” would face disciplinary action that “could be serious and may include termination of employment”.

Cathay’s parent company Swire Pacific has also expressed strong backing for the Hong Kong government and the police, while chairman and executive director of Swire Pacific, Merlin Bingham Swire, was on an official visit to Beijing on Monday.

There were also reports about a Cathay flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Hong Kong, with no passengers on board, which was denied entry into Chinese airspace since it had not provided the required information about the identities of the crew. The flight was forced to divert to Osaka, Japan, after being denied.

However, Cathay said since “a number of long-haul flights were queuing to land at the Hong Kong airport, the flight from Newark to Hong Kong was diverted to Osaka as it was carrying no passengers. The diversion helped reduce pressure on airport operations and minimise inconvenience to passengers”, according to the South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Airlines issued a statement yesterday to a number of Hong Kong newspapers, stating the airline “condemns the violence and supports the Hong Kong government and the police”.