Govt urged to drop 'test and hold' rule for air crews - RTHK
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Govt urged to drop 'test and hold' rule for air crews

2022-10-05 HKT 13:16
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  • Govt urged to drop 'test and hold' rule for air crews
The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union on Wednesday called on authorities to drop a rule requiring air crews to wait for their Covid test results at the airport, saying the arrangement is tough for those returning from long-haul journeys.

Since Tuesday, local crew members have no longer been required to remain in closed-loop bubbles while overseas, but they are still asked to avoid crowded places and mask-off activities in public.

When they return to the SAR, they are subject to a "test-and-go" arrangement at the Hong Kong airport if they haven't spent time in other countries in the past week.

But if they have spent time abroad, they must wait for a negative PCR test result before they can pass through immigration.

They will also be subject to daily PCR tests until the fourth day of their arrival.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, the union's vice-chairwoman, Grace Siu, welcomed the relaxation, saying airline staff have waited for such a change for more than two years.

But she hopes the government will scrap the "test and hold" arrangement for all air crews as soon as possible.

"It's tough for returning crew members, especially those who've finished a long-haul flight, to wait two to three hours before going home to rest," she said, adding that the government should also reduce the number of Covid tests required for airline staff.

Asked whether the relaxation would attract new hires, Siu said she believed salaries and benefits were still the main consideration.

"Following the mass lay-off, the pay for remaining employees was reduced by 30 percent. At the same time, the pay for new hires is at the level after the salary reduction, which is low," she said.

"The company should consider whether there's a need for salary adjustment. If not, it will continue to experience a loss of employees. Even with new recruits, they might not be able to fill all the vacancies."