Cathay Pacific Struggles With Aftermath of Covid, and China Crackdown

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-05-29 09:01:14  • 7 mins

Pandemic lockdowns, on the heels of the turmoil of pro-democracy protests, hurt an airline that relied on Hong Kong as a vibrant gateway to Asia.

Few major airlines in the world were hit by the Covid pandemic as hard as Cathay Pacific, the flagship carrier of Hong Kong, or have labored so mightily to recover from it. Its business was decimated by some of the industrys most expansive flight bans and quarantine requirements. And the pandemic wasnt the start of Cathays troubles.

In 2019, when Hong Kong was convulsed by pro-democracy protests, Cathay Pacific was caught in the crossfire with Beijing. Flights were canceled or delayed by airport sit-ins involving thousands of demonstrators, among them employees of the airline, Cathay Pacific. Chinese officials threatened to bar crew members who joined the protests, or even voiced support for them, from flying into China.

Turmoil grew inside Cathay Pacific. The airlines chief executive and chairman both resigned, and new leaders began cracking down on anything employees said or posted on social media that could anger China.

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