Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific announces resignation of CEO Rupert Hogg

Posted on August 16, 2019 by in Travel Deals

The CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways resigned Friday morning following pressure by Beijing on the Hong Kong carrier over participation by some of its employees in anti-government protests. Cathay is the biggest airline in Hong Kong and its airport, which was shut down earlier this week by protesters. Hogg took over in May 2017, having served previously as Cathay’s chief operating officer.

 

“It has been my honor to lead the Cathay Pacific Group over the last three years. I am confident in the future of Hong Kong as the key aviation hub in Asia. However, these have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company.” Hogg disclosed in a press statement

He has been replaced by Mr. Augustus Tang, of the Swire Group conglomerate, the carrier’s main shareholder.

How the Hong Kong protest affected the airline

Cathay Pacific Airways has been one of the Hong Kong biggest airlines to date. Cathay is a blend of British heritage and Asian high-altitude luxury, bringing together the city’s colonial past with its Chinese location. But it’s that unique clash of cultures that got the airline involved in the current political tensions of Hong Kong. After months of anti-Beijing demonstrations in the city, Cathay struggles to navigate a solution between the demands of the mainland and employees sympathetic to the uprising.

Source: NBC News

Chinas response to Cathay

“Cathay is only the start. China is sending a message to other corporations in Hong Kong that the same thing can happen to them,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics in Malaysia

The orders that came from China were:
• Staff who support illegal protests are banned from Cathay services to the mainland
• All Cathay crew need special approval to enter Chinese airspace

Needing Chinese approval to even enter their airspace has impacted Cathay flights. The flights impacted were not only the mainland flights but the ones to Europe and the USA as well. Third of Cathay business was their mainland connection, so it is estimated that they suffered a great financial loss. CNN reported that Cathay’s stock has plummeted nearly 24% since April.