Cathay Pacific investigates alleged pilot oral sex photos
HONG KONG — Cathay Pacific said Sunday it had launched a “full investigation” into photos allegedly showing a flight attendant performing oral sex on a pilot aboard an aircraft of the Hong Kong carrier.
Several pixellated photos of the act have been published in local Chinese-language media, showing the woman in a red outfit resembling Cathay’s cabin crew uniform giving oral sex to a man who the reports said was a pilot.
“We are conducting a full investigation into the matter and there are some indications that the female shown in the photos may be a member of our cabin crew,” a Cathay spokeswoman said in a statement to AFP.
“Our investigations are continuing and we have nothing further to add at this stage,” she said, without commenting on the identity of the man, whose clothing in the published photo did not appear to be Cathay pilot uniform.
“There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the act took place inflight, and there are no reasons to believe that any safety breaches have occurred,” the spokeswoman added.
A spokesman for the firm was quoted as saying in separate comments to the South China Morning Post newspaper: “One of the photos appears to have been taken inside an aircraft cockpit. There is no way to tell conclusively whether the photo was taken while the aircraft was on the ground or airborne.”
Reports in Hong Kong media said the pictures had been widely circulated on an online forum for pilots, and added that the duo in the photos were a couple.
According to the Chinese-language Apple Daily, the pilot — a foreigner — has issued a legal letter to the newspaper saying the photos had been stolen from his personal computer and that he had lodged a police report.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s top airline, has 13,000 staff around the world, including more than 8,000 cabin crew and 4,000 working in airports, according to its website.
Sex scandal forces Cathay Pacific to review marketing strategy
A sex scandal has forced Cathay Pacific to review a marketing campaign that bills the airline as "the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special."
The Hong Kong carrier launched an investigation last week after photos were published on the internet of a woman in a red outfit resembling its cabin crew uniform performing a sex act on a man, reportedly her boyfriend, on board.
Two Cathay employees subsequently left the company, but the embarrassing episode -- which reportedly took place in the cockpit -- has caused the airline to consider postponing its "People and Service" campaign.
"We are thinking of holding the campaign back for a little while because the timing doesn't suit us at the moment," said a spokesman, noting that the "extra mile" slogan was launched in 2010.
The emergence of the photos is considered to have compromised the advertising campaign, in which cabin crew and staff are featured on billboards and newspaper and magazine slots, a newspaper report said.
"The timing of this scandal really could not have been worse in marketing terms," a Cathay management source was quoted as telling the Sunday Morning Post.
"The scope for the slogan and the campaign to be misinterpreted, or ridiculed and lampooned, in light of the cockpit incident, is obvious."
The slogan was being used in online adverts on Sunday, although the spokesman, citing confidentiality reasons, told AFP she could not disclose if it would subsequently be used on billboards or other advertising.
Cathay chief executive John Slosar said in a statement released late on Friday that two members of crew "shown in compromising situations" in the photographs "are no longer employees of the company."
It was not clear whether the pair were sacked or resigned voluntarily, as the airline said it would not disclose details.
The airline also refused to say whether the incident took place in the plane's cockpit, but said the investigation found no evidence to suggest the act happened on any of its flights while airborne.
The unidentified man in the photo, who was said to be a pilot but was not wearing a Cathay pilot's uniform, has reportedly told a local newspaper that the photos were stolen from his personal computer.