Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg resigned from the airline suddenly last Friday (Aug. 16), capping off a turbulent two weeks for the Hong Kong-based airline amidst increasing pressure on businesses from Beijing, as pro-democracy demonstrations continue in the city.
In a company memo, Hogg and Paul Loo, Cathay’s chief customer and commercial officer and one of Hogg's deputies, stated that they decided to “take responsibility” for the airline’s recent challenges by leaving the company. In the statement, Hogg acknowledged that the airline has faced challenges as a result of continuing protests, adding that the carrier couldn’t afford to lose business from mainland China.
READ MORE: Second day of cancelled flights at HKG
Cathay has now appointed Augustus Tang as its new CEO; Tang was previously CEO of maintenance and engineering company Haeco, which is owned by Cathay Pacific's parent company Swire Pacific.
In the lead-up to the resignations, Cathay came under increased scrutiny by Beijing after more than 1,000 of its employees took part in pro-democracy demonstrations earlier this month, cancelling nearly 150 flights as a result. The Chinese government subsequently restricted its airspace from Cathay flights operated by crew that took part in the protests, forcing the airline to provide identification of crew members.
After informing employees that they could be fired for taking part in the demonstrations, two pilots were let go without official reason.
Cathay also saw dozens of flights cancelled as protesters took over Hong Kong International Airport last week, forcing the facility to cancel flights on Monday and Tuesday.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!