Locked in hotels: COVID rules take mental toll on Cathay pilots



ORIGINAL POST
Posted by Ed 9 days ago

One of Asia's largest airlines, Cathay Pacific, is facing a revolt from pilots who say Hong Kong's tough quarantine rules under its zero-COVID policies are endangering their mental health, leading to rising stress and resignations.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0293.HK) last week fired three pilots who breached company rules by leaving their hotel rooms during a layover in Frankfurt and later tested positive for COVID-19.

The government responded by forcing more than 270 people, including school children linked to their families, into tiny quarters at a state quarantine camp.

Some pilots declared themselves unfit to fly for their first rostered duties upon release.

"I don't think I can keep this up," one Cathay pilot who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters. "Just the stress of potential quarantine of my family and friends is taking a toll."

Several other current and recently departed Cathay pilots told Reuters morale was low and resignations were rising a year after many had their pay permanently cut by as much as 58%.

Extreme stress is a significant issue in an industry where any sign of psychological problems can make it difficult to get another job.

Hong Kong classifies many destinations including the United States and Britain as "high-risk," meaning Cathay pilots flying passengers inbound from those places are subject to two weeks of hotel quarantine.

To staff those flights, Cathay started running "closed-loop" rosters on a voluntary basis in February involving five consecutive weeks locked in hotel rooms with no access to fresh air or a gym and then two weeks off at home.

 
https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/locked-hotels-hong-kongs-covid-19-rules-take-mental-toll-cathay-pilots-2021-11-26/ 

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