Cathay Pacific grounds cabin crew over depleted emergency oxygen bottles

Routine pre-flight inspections on two planes uncovered 13 oxygen canisters partially or completely discharged, Cathay Pacific said last week.
Routine pre-flight inspections on two planes uncovered 13 oxygen canisters partially or completely discharged, Cathay Pacific said last week.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Cathay Pacific Airways grounded cabin crew from two flights after emergency oxygen bottles on the aircraft were found depleted or completely emptied.

The staff were barred from flying to help an inquiry into the matter, a spokesman for the airline said on Tuesday (Sept 3).

Chinese aviation authorities are also investigating, together with Hong Kong's regulator and local police, the South China Morning Post reported.

Routine pre-flight inspections on two planes uncovered 13 oxygen canisters partially or completely discharged, Cathay Pacific said last week.

The investigation is another headache for Cathay Pacific's new chief executive officer, Mr Augustus Tang, weeks after Chinese regulators threatened to bar flights to the mainland because some staff supported the Hong Kong protests.

Months of demonstrations are also hitting travel demand to the city, Asia's busiest hub for international traffic.

The discovered bottles, designed to be used by crew in the event of an emergency depressurisation, were immediately recharged and safety wasn't compromised, Cathay Pacific said last week.

The airline is investigating three cases of oxygen-bottle tampering last month, the most recent on Aug 31, the South China Morning Post said on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, which cited a memo to Cathay Pacific employees on Monday, ground staff, caterers, cleaners and engineers will fall under the scope of the probe.

 

The memo also announced stricter security protocols that require staff to carry out detailed checks on aircraft at least every 60 minutes between services, the South China Morning Post reported.