Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said that the disrespectful words and deeds made by Cathay Pacific Group cabin crew members towards mainland passengers hurt the feelings of Hong Kong and Chinese mainland people, undermining the city's consistent values of respect and courtesy.
In a viral online post, a passenger who is fluent in Mandarin, English, and Cantonese detailed how three flight attendants repeatedly complained in English and Cantonese about passengers who didn't speak English well on a recent Cathay Pacific flight.
Cathay Pacific took action by terminating the cabin crew members involved on Tuesday and pledged to conduct a comprehensive review of their service flow, staff training, and relevant mechanisms to improve service quality.
Addressing a Wednesday activity in Guangzhou, Lee said he was saddened by the incident. Although the crew members involved have been dismissed, similar incidents must not be allowed to occur in the future, and Hong Kong's image of being respectful and courteous to visitors needs to be restored, he added.
Also in response to the incident, Hong Kong's Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung expressed his distress over the inappropriate comments made by the Cathay Pacific cabin crew members. The incident is a serious breach of Hong Kong's reputation for service excellence, long-standing values and ethical standards.
The secretary hoped that review of the company will be completed as soon as possible and that fundamental improvements will be made to the company's mechanisms and staff attitudes, in order to live up to Hong Kong's reputation as an international aviation hub and a welcoming city.
Ronald Lam, CEO of Cathay Pacific Group, stated in a Tuesday statement that he would lead an inter-departmental working group to conduct a comprehensive review to avoid the recurrence of similar incidents by re-examining the service process, personnel training and related systems.
The most important thing is to ensure that all Cathay Pacific employees must respect travelers from different backgrounds and cultures, and offer professional and consistent services in all service areas, Lam said.