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Cathay Pacific fires staff, pilot, after being involved in Hong Kong protests

Escalating protests in Hong Kong have incited airline Cathay Pacific to fire several of its airport staff involved in demonstrations, including a pilot charged with rioting.

Cathay Pacific Airways said on Saturday the pilot had been removed from flying duties and two airport staffers were fired for leaking information according to South China Morning Post.

Information leaked concerned travel plans for a Hong Kong police soccer team who had booked to fly to Chengdu, China.

The pilot had been removed from duties on July 30 after being arrested and charged with one count of rioting during a demonstration on July 28. 

China's Civil Aviation Authority had already issued a warning to Cathay Pacific about the involvement of its staff in "riots."

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TVNZ reporter Kimberlee Downs is in Hong Kong as demonstrations continue for a ninth week. Source: 1 NEWS

It said starting last weekend, all Cathay Pacific personnel "involved in and supporting illegal demonstrations" will no longer be able to fly to mainland China or work there in air transportation. All Cathay Pacific crew members flying to the mainland will have to submit their identification details to Chinese authorities for approval before flights can proceed, it said.

During a general strike on Monday, more than 100 flights were cancelled because airline and airport employees were participating in the protest. Cathay Pacific was among the airlines most affected by the strike.

The airline reportedly told staff that they should expect more security checks on Cathay Pacific planes and operations in the wake of the sanctions.

Chairman for the airline, John Slosar, said last week he didn’t think the company could control staff who chose to take part in the protests.

“We employ 27,000 staff in Hong Kong doing all sorts of different jobs, we certainly wouldn’t dream of telling them what they have to think,” Slosar said, in comments that were not backed by China’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Hong Kong, Hong Kong - August 13, 2017: Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 aircraft at the Hong Kong International Airport. The Airbus A350 is the latest-generation aircraft to Cathay Pacific.
Cathay Pacific Airline fires staff over Hong Kong protests Source: istock.com