Hong Kong SAR government is considering new methods to lower Covid-19 and new mutations’ potential spread by requiring all crews arriving in Hong Kong and staying more than two hours to quarantine for 14 days.
The new rule would require local Cathay Pacific cockpit and other crew members to quarantine at local hotels for 14-days after arriving from a foreign trip.
Many airlines have started to double their crew on Hong Kong flights (both inbound and outbound crews on board and none stays in Hong Kong) or serve the city through intermediate points, such as Bangkok, by ensuring that no crew members step out of the plane in the city.
Obviously, this approach doesn’t work for Cathay Pacific local crews that currently need to take a test upon arrival to their base and quarantine in a hotel for 24-hours while waiting for the results.
Requiring the crew to quarantine for 14-days would essentially end all Cathay Pacific flights, and the airline is pushing back on this.
Here’s an excerpt from the SCMP:
According to three sources familiar with the plan, the government is considering ordering pilots and cabin crew, including local staff, to quarantine in a hotel if they stay in Hong Kong for more than two hours.
All foreign aircrew are currently required to take designated transport to hotels, isolate in their rooms throughout their stay and pass a Covid-19 test before flying in. Local aircrew are tested on arrival in Hong Kong and have to stay in a hotel for 24 hours while waiting for their results.
Cathay Pacific Airways is understood to be pushing back hard against the proposal, but it is unclear what success it would have.
It seems that countries are now trying to outmaneuver themselves who can come up with more strict quarantine requirements for passengers and airline crews, whether these measurements make any epidemiological sense or not.
Why would any Cathay Pacific crew member choose to work on a flight if they need to quarantine for two weeks upon returning to their base?
Does Cathay Pacific need to start staffing their long-haul flights with crews in Singapore, Bangkok, and other locales and fly one-stop services, so that crew members don’t stay in Hong Kong for more than two hours?
The Hong Kong SAR proposal would effectively kill Cathay Pacific that could be one of the reasons behind it.