Cathay Pacific Airways
- Cathay Pacific shares tumbled 4.9% Monday, hitting decade lows after China demanded the airline prevent protesting employees from flying to the mainland.
- Hong Kong International Airport stopped all flights Monday after protesters occupied the building for a fourth consecutive day.
- The closure is just the latest in a series of massive protests in Hong Kong, as residents call for the city’s independence from the Chinese government.
- The demands follow an early August strike consisting of more than 14,000 Cathay employees that led to the cancelation of more than 200 flights.
- Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.
Cathay Pacific plummeted to decade lows after China demanded that it prevent protesting employees from flying to the mainland.
Shares of Hong Kong’s dominant airline traded down 4.9% Monday, closing at their lowest price since June 2009. China’s civil aviation agency sent its demands after trading hours ended Friday, calling on Cathay to share information for crew members flying to China and bar protesting employees from flying to the mainland.
The move comes after more than two months of protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government. The outcry originally targeted a bill that would allow China to extradite Hong Kong citizens to the mainland for trial, but quickly grew into a call for autonomous democracy. Hong Kong operates within a "One Country, Two Systems" structure with China, but the tension between the duo is escalating quickly as Hong Kong citizens fight for the city’s independence.
Beijing’s request forced Cathay to pick between its workforce and a critical market. Half of the company’s revenue comes from flights leaving from either mainland China or Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported.
Cathay responded to the demands by suspending a pilot who was detained for his participation in a protest and firing two workers for "misconduct," according to Bloomberg. Employees who "support or participate in illegal protests" would face action that "may include termination of employment," Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg warned in a Monday note to staff.
The airline’s actions "have led to a severe threat to aviation safety, created negative social impact and increased the risk of flying from Hong Kong to the mainland," the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement given to Bloomberg.
Authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport canceled all flights to and from the city Monday after protesters filled the airport for the fourth consecutive day. Thousands of people occupied the building as protests against mainland China’s government and Hong Kong’s police force raged on.
"Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today," authorities said in a statement sent to Business Insider.
Cathay came under fire in early August after more than 14,000 of its employees participated in a general strike that prompted the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The strike arrived during the ninth straight month of protests.
Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:
- 10 new cars that will lose the least amount of value in 5 years
- ‘Not investing in China is very risky’: Billionaire investor Ray Dalio explains why he’s still all in despite recent trade-war fireworks
- Obama advisor Larry Summers warns the world is at ‘most dangerous financial moment’ since 2009 as global markets reel from trade war escalation