Cathay Pacific

Ex-Cathay pilots denied leave to appeal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am

Eighteen sacked pilots have been refused leave to take their case against Cathay Pacific Airways to the highest court.

After the Court of Appeal turned down their application yesterday, their barrister Clive Grossman SC said they would apply directly to the Court of Final Appeal.

The pilots are seeking to overturn the Court of Appeal's decision in December that the pilots were not unfairly dismissed or defamed, which overturned a lower court's ruling.

Grossman said statements by the airline that challenged the pilots' professionalism were bound to have a serious effect on their careers.

'They were so widely published within the specific employment framework, and those defamatory statements remained on Cathay Pacific's website until the start of the trial,' the barrister said.

In the December judgment, the Court of Appeal overturned a lower court ruling that awarded each pilot HK$3.3 million for defamation, together with a month's pay and HK$150,000 for unfair dismissal.

The compensation for each of the pilots was reduced to HK$700,000.

Cathay Pacific refused to comment yesterday, saying the legal dispute was ongoing.

The court battle started in 2001, when the first 23 of 49 dismissed pilots filed claims for damages.