Chief Executive John Lee has expressed deep disappointment and indignation over claims of discrimination against Cathay Pacific passengers who don't speak English.
Speaking in Guangzhou on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Week, Lee said, "These disrespectful remarks and actions have hurt the feelings of both Hong Kong and mainland compatriots, and damaged Hong Kong's reputation for being respectful, courteous and inclusive.
"These vile remarks and actions happened on a Hong Kong flight. I feel deeply indignant and disappointed.”
Lee described the incident as serious and said the airline needs to take prompt action to rebuild its image that meets the expectations of society.
He also said Cathay should review its training program and improve its service quality to ensure similar situations would not happen again.
Transport Secretary Lam Sai-hung also said he was "very distressed" by the inappropriate comments made by members of the Cathay cabin crew during a flight from Chengdu on Sunday.
"The incident is a serious breach of Hong Kong's reputation for service excellence, long-standing values and ethical standards. I have expressed my deep concern to Cathay Pacific and demanded that the management improve their services immediately," he said in a statement.
Three Cathay flight attendants have been fired over the incident. The airline's chief executive Ronald Lam on Wednesday again apologised for what happened.
He said the flight attendants' actions were a serious violation of the company's rules and ethics, and the airline had a zero-tolerance policy towards such behaviour.
Lam also said the carrier will prevent a repeat of similar cases, and that he would lead a cross-departmental working group to conduct a comprehensive review to ensure that its staff provide high-quality services to all passengers.
Meanwhile, the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union urged the airline to give clear guidelines to protect frontline staff, saying some passengers' actions are putting huge pressure on their staff.
Writing on social media, the union expressed deep regret about the incident, but it urged Cathay to provide a safe work environment for its employees.
"We notice there is an online appeal for passengers to provoke and record the behaviour of crew members. This action seriously disturbs crew members' work. Crew members are currently under huge pressure and extreme fear," it said.
Last updated: 2023-05-24 HKT 20:28