Two Cathay Dragon crew axed after oxygen probe

Top News | Jane Cheung and Stella Wong 25 Sep 2019

Two Cathay Dragon flight attendants - who were among those suspended over last weekend's oxygen saga - have been fired.

The two were allegedly involved in the seventh and latest incident uncovered.

A Cathay Dragon spokeswoman said yesterday one of the 16 portable oxygen bottles stored on board Flight KA730 from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong on Saturday was found to be in "a low-pressure state" during a routine inspection.

She said the affected oxygen bottle on the Airbus A330 was replaced prior to its next flight departure, adding that the safety of cabin crew and passengers was not compromised.

"Cathay Dragon immediately reported the case to the Hong Kong police, who have launched a parallel investigation into the matter," she said.

"The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department has been informed."

All cabin crew on the flight had been suspended from flight duties to facilitate the investigation, she said.

"Based on the results of the investigation, two cabin crew members have had their employment terminated."

The spokeswoman said safety and security are the airline's top priority.

"Cathay Dragon has further strengthened its security measures by imposing additional checks before, during and after flights on top of the usual preflight checks for all flights," she said.

According to the airline, the portable oxygen bottles are for operational cabin crew use and permit cabin crew to move around the cabin in the unlikely event of emergency aircraft depressurization.

Both cabin crew and passengers have in-seat aircraft oxygen available at all times, which is independent of the portable bottles, it said.

The incident comes amid intense scrutiny of Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific after its chief executive resigned and several pilots and flight attendants were terminated following an order by Chinese civil aviation authorities to stop its staff from supporting anti-extradition protests. Cathay confirmed on Friday that it had informed the Civil Aviation Department and police of the six previous instances where some portable oxygen bottles were found to be in "a low-pressure state."

The incidents occurred from August 17 to September 16 on three Cathay Pacific flights and three Cathay Dragon flights.

Earlier this month, Cathay suspended the flying duties of dozens of cabin crew members on at least three flights found with depleted oxygen bottles for investigation.

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