Cathay Pacific to hire cabin attendants from mainland China from July

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on Monday it would in July launch initiatives to improve Mandarin language and cultural understanding, including hiring cabin staff from mainland China, after three crew were fired over discrimination. The announcement, sent in an internal memo to staff and seen by Reuters, said all cabin crew would be given "culture training" and that Cathay would increase the scope of Mandarin-speaking services amongst the cabin team.


The move came weeks after Cathay Pacific fired three flight attendants following passenger accusations of bias against non-English speakers, prompting criticism on Chinese state media. "Widening our crew's Putonghua coverage is a key objective under this initiative, given the increasing proportion of our customers who speak Putonghua," Cathay's CEO Ronald Lam said in the memo. Mandarin is also known as Putonghua. The discrimination incident in May went viral on mainland Chinese social media platforms and prompted a torrent of criticism by Chinese state media and Hong Kong government officials, including leader John Lee.

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At the time, a passenger on a flight from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu to Hong Kong wrote in an online post that flight attendants complained among themselves about passengers in English and Cantonese. They said the flight attendants made fun of others for asking for a carpet instead of a blanket in English.


"If you cannot say blanket in English, you cannot have it. ... Carpet is on the floor. Feel free if you want to lie on it," a flight attendant said, according to a recording that was circulated widely online. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the clip, which triggered criticism on social media.

Source: Reuters

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