Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways said on Saturday it had suspended a pilot arrested during anti-government protests in Hong Kong and that “overly radical” staff would be barred from crewing flights to the mainland.
The move followed China’s aviation regulator demanding the airline prevent staff involved in some of the protests in Hong Kong from operating flights to China, describing it as a safety issue.
The broadside poses a major commercial challenge to Cathay, which already reported tumbling bookings last week as a result of the anti-government protests gripping Hong Kong.
The airline said on Saturday in response to customer queries that the pilot had been removed from duties on July 30 “in line with our standard process” and had not flown since July 15.
The Cathay pilot, whom the company did not name, was among over 40 people charged with rioting, during clashes with police near Beijing’s main representative office in the city.