Aircrew arriving in Hong Kong could be made to observe the same quarantine rules as the rest of the public under a proposal being mulled by officials. Photo: Nora Tam
Health & Environment
Hong Kong fourth wave: airline sector braces for impact as city mulls 14-day quarantine for aircrew amid coronavirus pandemic
The move, which one source worries could ‘kill’ the industry, would end a long-standing exemption enjoyed by airlines
Cathay Pacific said to be pushing back hard on proposal, though it is unclear to what effect
Topic | Coronavirus Hong Kong
Published: 2:38pm, 21 Jan, 2021
Hong Kong is mulling plans to order all arriving aircrews to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks in response to a recent coronavirus outbreak, a move that would end a long-standing exemption and present the embattled aviation industry with a fresh crisis. 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. Another source said the plan could “kill” the airline industry if it proceeds, while a separate insider said aircrew would also be subject to repeated testing.
Cathay Pacific Airways is understood to be pushing back hard against the proposal, but it is unclear what success it would have. Aircrew are at greater risk of carrying the virus, despite wearing protective equipment, given they are interacting with passengers and flying abroad, yet they have been exempted from quarantine orders that apply to the general public.
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.