View Full Version : BA Crews. Is this really necessary?

23rd May 2003, 10:15
Chartering a CX A330 every night to fly crews between Macao and HKG due SARS really seems a total waste of time and money. I realise that CX is getting much needed income from this but I had expected intelligent people to be able to determine facts from media hype and not promulgate this scaremongering.
Statistically I understand you have more chance of a death by gunshot wounds in the UK than catching SARS in HKG, not to mention the vastly greater chance of catching West Nile Virus in NYC (still nightstopping there?).
As long as people are prepared to listen to media scaremongering instead of insisting it is put in context and proportion all our livelihoods can be endangered to sell a few newspapers and hide a few political scandals!!

23rd May 2003, 13:49

Rather than ranting your fellings at "BA Crews", why not try the WHO..? I believe they are in GVA.

You'll find most of the crews would rather stay in HKG, even with the current situation. However, BA are unwilling to against WHO advice and that's that. Whatever else anyone says about BA, at least they are aiming to look after their crew's welfare - and probably have to under "duty of care".

Doubt CX are charging much for the 330/340 - bet the trip is very useful for crew recency given the current situation.


stormin norman
23rd May 2003, 16:22
How else are the crews going to get there-walk ?

23rd May 2003, 16:30
Perhaps they could take the hydrofoil?

cheers ;)


C Lips
23rd May 2003, 16:34
How about East Asia Helicopters, Jet Cat or one of Dragonairs parked A320's. All a hell of a lot cheaper.

No wonder BA is losing money...........

Rumor has it that the F/A 's are making BA charter the A340 to Macau instead of overnighting in HKG.

23rd May 2003, 16:35
stormin norman.
They could always swim!

23rd May 2003, 16:56
Actually, one of the numerous reasons that BA is slipping in Macau is that should a crew member be hospitalised in HKG there is not a hospital which is not in quarantine.

Secondly you can hear the outcry now, should a crew member contract SARS, saying what an awful employer BA is.

I can tell you from experience that there are few companies better to work for should you or your family suffer a tragedy, accident or personal problems.

The cabin crew are not forcing anything.

The cost in the overall scheme of things, when SARS, directly or indirectly, is costing the industry a fortune, is not outrageous.

23rd May 2003, 17:00
No mention of all the other places with real health problems then. NYC, West Africa etc.

Notso Fantastic
23rd May 2003, 17:05
Not that many of them have quarantined hospitals. And after a long duty day to HKG, to Jetcat isn't really in order! It gives a Oneworld partner the opportunity to keep its crews in recency rather than farming the work out elsewhere. Not an 'ideal' situation, but you have towork around what you've got. HKG has got SARS bigtime.

23rd May 2003, 17:22
I'm sure if the WHO decides that other places in the world are risky I'm sure BA will act upon that decision too accordingly.

As M.Mouse says, BA is a good employer as it does actually look after it's employees downroute (even if they are a bit touchy feely sometimes!). I for one have always been impressed with the back up you are given and that if something out of the ordinary goes wrong they are quite happy for the senior person on the scene to sort things out and they will back you 100%

As has been said already I'm sure the crew would much rather be staying in HK. Speaking as someone who used to live there and also visited Macau on a few occasions can honestly say HK is by far the better place.

But the grief you would get from minority of drama crew who are out there and also the resulting grief from the unions, not to mention the resulting law suits from passengers and staff should any of the crew contract SARS - I think BA is taking a very sensible decision.

Transorting crew to Macau isn't gonna affect the share price - a few nasty law suits just might! - Just in case you have any BA shares!!!:sad:

23rd May 2003, 17:28
NF, Do tell us all how HKG has SARS bigtime. I suggest you get your facts right. Are you actually concerned about colleagues getting infected or are you more interested in media scare fiction. Have a look at the death figures for normal pneumonia, TB etc and then perhaps you'll see SARS in a real context. There are threads in the medical forum that are very informative.

23rd May 2003, 17:42
World Health Organization changes hong kong, Guangdong travel recommendations

23 May 2003 | GENEVA -- Effective today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is removing its recommendation that people should postpone all but essential travel to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong Province, China.

The recommendation to consider postponing all but essential travel to Hong Kong and Guangdong was issued on 2 April in order to minimize the international spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). WHO is changing this recommendation as the situation in these areas has now improved significantly.

Recommendations to postpone travel are issued following consideration of several factors, including the magnitude of probable SARS cases, the pattern of recent local transmission, and the last dates of export of cases.

On 27 March, WHO recommended that all areas with recent local transmission should screen all international departing passengers to ensure that those who are sick with SARS or are contacts of SARS cases do not travel. This recommendation is still valid for both Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

“We are changing the travel advice for Hong Kong and Guangdong effective Friday, 23 May,” said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the WHO. “Guangdong was the first place in the world to have cases of SARS but I am pleased to note that due to the efforts of the local and national health authorities, with support from WHO, the outbreaks in Guangdong and in Hong Kong are being contained."

In Hong Kong, the three-day average number of new cases has remained below five over the last six days and the pattern of the outbreak shows a sustained decline since the peak of new cases in late March. The total number of people who are still infectious (all of whom are in hospital) has fallen below 60, although there are other former SARS patients who are still convalescing or being treated for other conditions in hospital. All new cases in the past 20 days have occurred in people who were already identified as contacts of a person with SARS and under active surveillance by the local health authorities. There have been no recent reports of internationally exported cases from Hong Kong.

In Guangdong province, the three-day average number of new cases has been below five for 11 days and the number of SARS patients in hospital fell below 60 on May 20. Due to the efforts of the provincial health authorities, the extent of local transmission has fallen to low levels over recent weeks. There have been no recent reports of internationally exported cases from Guangdong province.

The WHO has also reviewed the travel recommendations for other areas of China, including Beijing, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Taiwan and Tianjin. The WHO recommendations to consider postponing non-essential travel to these areas remain in place. The WHO reviews travel recommendations regularly.

The outbreak in many areas of China is ongoing, and will require continuing intensive efforts as well as a rapid injection of new resources to fully contain SARS.


In Patterns B and C
Pattern B More than one generation of local probable SARS cases, but only among persons that have been previously identified and followed-up as known contacts of probable SARS cases. Pattern C Local probable cases occurring among persons who have not been previously identified as known contacts of probable SARS cases.

For more information contact:

Dick Thompson - Communication Officer
Communicable Disease Control, Prevention and Eradication
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: (+41 22) 791 26 84
Email: [email protected]

Iain Simpson - Communications Officer
Director-General's office
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5534
Email: [email protected]

23rd May 2003, 18:14

What is your problem?? The WHO had recommended against non-essential travel to HKG.... QED. As I said earlier - if you're going to jump up and down do it at the WHO.

Given the above post re. the new WHO advice, I would expect the BA slip in HKG to be restored soon. I suppose you'll claim it was because of your post?


23rd May 2003, 18:50
Nigel, You can suppose what you like. The facts are that the WHO over-reacted to SARS and then prevaricated for weeks to avoud losing face whilst affected regions suffered badly. If you look at their original criteria for withdrawing the travel ban you will see that it has not been met. If you look at the new criteria it was met weeks ago.
I have the greatest respect for the professionalism of most BA pilots and their reps but I feel that you have helped cost your own company great expense and helped promulgate the Media over-reaction. You obviously have very little health concerns at all if you feel you can accept obvious anomalies in the WHO's reactions to different diseases.

Hand Solo
23rd May 2003, 19:21
You can suppose all you like, as you clearly do by posting such utter tosh on this thread. The decision to withdraw the HKG slip was taken by BA management, based on the advice by BAs doctors following the warnings given by the World Health Organisation. The decision was not taken by flight crew, they didn't demand the withdrawal of the slip and they can't demand it's reinstatement, so stop blaming them for a situation which they have no control over.

23rd May 2003, 19:24

I can see where you are coming from... but you are wrongly targetting BA & its crews. If one person in BA in HKG caught SARS, or even had an injury or illness affected by, say hospitals not being open, or quarantined etc., then BA would have failed in its "duty of care" by acting against specific WHO advice. In the UK, BA could then be fined enormous sums by an Industrial Tribunal for going against this advice...

Personally I would happily go to / stay in HKG, and so would most crews. But I am glad to see BA reacting to WHO advice etc. I am sure in turn pressure will be put on WHO by HMG etc. to not make the same mistakes / over-reaction again.

There are many laws here affecting employers and their treatment of employees, something I appreciate does not happen in HKG where your profile says you are based...


23rd May 2003, 19:43
I understand BusyB comments and the WHO have totally over reacted to SARS in HKG. However the WHO said what they said and BA did what they felt was right for them and the crews. VS took another view and worked with the crews keeping them up to date with the situation and continued resting crew in HKG. No crew member was forced to fly the route, if they wanted off that was fine, with no come back from the company.Both airlines did what was right for them, just BA option cost a few pounds more!

23rd May 2003, 22:28
What's this cobblers about all hospitals being quarantined in HKG? Yes, some of the public ones may be but I'm quite sure that BA crews wouldn't go to those. Plenty of normal private hospitals willing to give you executive space, unmolested by the odd pneumonia patient. 10 thousand quid a day to whip across to Macau, with an open border to China? The WHO is a UN organisation - the UK has taken that outfit with a pinch of salt recently so why the panic and hysteria over their overreaction? I would have expected a bit of a stiff upper lip from a British airline. Are there counsellors to meet the inbound flights at LHR?

23rd May 2003, 22:31
What's this cobblers about all hospitals being quarantined in HKG?

Only repeating what senior management are saying, whoops, that was silly.

23rd May 2003, 22:41
Well M Mouse, you don't normally believe what senior management say as the truth, so why start now?? I live here and can tell you as fact that Matilda private hospital is fully open, hasn't seen a SARS case and is in excellent shape. I think that applies to the Canossa as well. If you're still convinced by the hype and tittle tattle, I'll check a few more...........

24th May 2003, 00:55
...oops, I guess someone forgot to report/mention the SARs cases in Macau.

Do BA management think it is some 'haven'? or just another case of selectively mis-reporting the facts.

*not having a go at BA, rather the underhanded, serpentine, low life, bottom dwelling, sensationalist, pigs swill press-corps!

One should never let the facts get in the way of a good story. If youre sitting back in Blighty - please believe NONE of what you hear and based on Channel 4s docu-drama "Killer Bug".... believe NONE of what you see either.
Yes, this is serious but the selective footage and total lies eg: "90% of people are wearing masks" (try about 5%) is creating hysteria. Yes there was a crisis, but thanks to some damn brave people it was averted.

If you reporters want to do something useful....how about a report on the sterling work and self sacrifice, at great risk, made by the medical staff who have fought this battle. 40% of the victims are medical staff....

Ps: Good to see the Virgin girls/crew still out partying in Wan Chai. Thank goodness for a measure of commonsense.

24th May 2003, 01:06

For yr info, most hospitals in HKG are full, not to mention, they just refuse to accept foreign cases! Better to be safe than sorry........

Notso Fantastic
24th May 2003, 02:12
It's all ending as of today with crew back in HKG each day, so discussion over!

24th May 2003, 05:51
turbspeed, from personal experience you're wrong. Others, the change in WHO's conditions have removed the reason for my post. They haven't changed the facts of the case. They haven't changed the fiction about cabin air in modern jets promulgated by LS in the other thread. (A very apt name). Thanks to all readers. Bye

24th May 2003, 07:01
It's not really my area and I'm coming to the debate late but what seems odd to me is not that one airline chose to take their crews out - this isn't unreasonable - but that they use an A330 to do it. Was it really chartered by BA? For just one crew, or was it more? I can't imagine that there wasn't a smaller aircraft avilable that could do the job. Or maybe the aircraft was going to be positioning there anyway for other reasons.

It's a nice headline but there must surely be more to it than is immediately obvious. :confused:

24th May 2003, 07:23
As BusyB was (is) a big supporter of the HKAOA, perhaps he is just a little cheesed off the about the whole affair.
Think he prefers..."the BAN".:ok:

24th May 2003, 13:46

<<this isn't unreasonable - but that they use an A330 to do it>>

Do you really think BA said "we need a 250+ seat aircraft to transport our crews 30mins each way"??

Or maybe, given the SARS problem, a certain airline said "we'll undercut whatever anyone else offers" ?? And their smallest aircraft is a 330/340?


PS The answer is the obvious one...

25th May 2003, 04:29
A few years ago I was taken ill down route. BA were bloody fantastic, best medical care money can buy, Consultant on standby in UK just in case, wife flown out on next flight and told not to spend a penny of her own money. I cannot say one word against them and I was a union rep at the time. They take advice and act accordingly. CAA were pretty good too, nice letter telling me not to worry and get back to flying asap. If BA want the crews to slip elsewhere, I am sure it is based on good advice , I think CP are using the flight for crew training.


25th May 2003, 11:12
turbspeed said:
For yr info, most hospitals in HKG are full, not to mention, they just refuse to accept foreign cases! Better to be safe than sorry........
This is just pathetic nonsense. There was a point in mid-April where the Intensive Care Units were a little stretched. But HK has 29,000 public hospital beds and a lot more in private hospitals. 1700 SARS cases (peaking at less than 1200 in hospital simultaneously) is not close to overloading the system. Let's be clear also that the total number fo deaths from Atypical Pneumonia in HK in the first 4 months of this year was within 5% of the figure for the first four months of last year (1280 (of which 157 were classified as SARS) vs 1220). This is well within the normal fluctuation, and there has been no significant overall increase in the risk of dying in HK throughout this "SARS" period.

More data and some analysis on this at my site: http://home.so-net.com.hk/~pns/

What evidence do you have that HK refuses to accept foreign cases? Let's remember that when a Malaysian ship in international waters reported possible SARS cases on board it was ONLY HK that would accept the ship. Apparently (and I accept I read this in a newspaper so it may not be true) Malaysia refused to allow the ship back there even though it was one of theirs.