Swire Group

Cathay workers' Web site closes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 12:00am

A jinxed unofficial Cathay Pacific Web site that sparked a suicide, a resignation and a rape investigation has closed.

The site, which has fuelled constant controversy since its rise to prominence six months ago, simply says 'Merry Christmas' when Internet users visit its Web address.

The reason for its sudden disappearance was a mystery yesterday. Cathay management, understood to have regularly visited the site to keep an eye on postings, said it had nothing to do with the closure.

Until as recently as last week, www.cxcrew.com.hk was hosting lively and at times abusive discussion forums for Cathay staff and passengers to air grievances about the airline.

A flight attendant used the site late last year to name a Cathay pilot she claimed raped her in a hotel between flights.

Management questioned the pilot and called in police, who said they could do little without a formal statement from the alleged victim, who did not come forward.

In December, a flight attendant caught trying to sell her days off on the same site killed herself after being found out.

She had burnt charcoal, which gives off toxic gas, in her Mongkok home just days after management questioned her about her online advert offering to work over Christmas and New Year in exchange for $5,000 - a breach of Cathay policy.

The man who started the site was forced to resign from Cathay last August after answers to the cabin crew safety exam were posted on the Net.

He was traced by company bosses and called in for a 'discussion', after which he agreed to quit.

Passengers on Virgin Atlantic flights to London could be kept waiting for up to an hour at Chek Lap Kok if they leave on a Monday or Tuesday before the end of next month.

Airline general manager for Hong Kong Andy Stephen said the carrier was running low on slots at Heathrow for night landings - between 11.30pm and 6am - and was holding back some flights scheduled to land at 4.55am.

Heathrow will allocate night landing slots for next season at the end of March, when Hong Kong departures will return to normal.