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Cathay Pacific fires staff over discrimination

STORY: Cathay Pacific has fired three flight attendants amid uproar in Chinese media over alleged discrimination.

Wednesday's (May 24) announcement comes after a passenger accused the workers of bias against non-English speakers.

A traveler on a flight from Chengdu said attendants made fun of others asking for a carpet instead of a blanket in English.

It led to criticism from Chinese state media, who accused the airline of "worshipping" foreigners.

Cathay Pacific CEO Ronald Lam offered an apology on Wednesday:

“Cathay Pacific Airways will maintain a zero-tolerance approach towards the severe violations of company regulations and ethical standards committed by individual employees. Similar incidents will not be tolerated again.”

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The airline said it fired the employees after an internal investigation.

Lam further said he would lead a working group to conduct a comprehensive review of staff training.

The dispute also drew in political heavyweights.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee vowed such an incident couldn't happen again.

“I'm heartbroken over the disrespectful words and actions displayed by certain cabin crew members towards mainland Chinese passengers. Such behaviour has caused great distress to both the people of Hong Kong and mainland China, undermining the longstanding culture and values of respect, courtesy, and inclusiveness in Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong flagship carrier has been trying to recover from a difficult period after it was badly hit by a downturn during the health crisis.

Cathay's Flight Attendants Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the firings.