FedEx Pilots Confined in Hong Kong

Crews face a variety of mandatory health restrictions.

FedEx is reportedly considering moving its southeast Asia hub away from Hong Kong.Courtesy FedEx

As infections from the COVID-19 virus continue to climb just about everywhere on Earth, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) last week shared some more unexpected news that’s affecting some US pilots traveling abroad through Hong Kong, which FedEx uses as a major hub.

In a news release, ALPA said, “Recently, three COVID-19 positive asymptomatic FedEx pilots have been forced into mandated hospital facilities for up to 10 days in Hong Kong. Additionally, several pilots who already tested negative for COVID-19, but who had been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person were put into government camps under extremely difficult conditions. Not only do these situations pose unacceptable risks to our pilots’ safety and wellbeing, but they also create added stress and distraction for flight operations. While the COVID-19 global pandemic rages on, FedEx pilots continue to provide essential services, operating in extremely challenging and ever-changing environments and constantly adapting to new government mandates and restrictions around the globe. Pilots who test positive for COVID-19 face compulsory admission and treatment in government-selected public hospitals, with as many as five patients to a room with one shared bathroom. In addition, any pilot or family member in Hong Kong found to have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual is placed in a government quarantine facility for up to 14 days with very sparse provisions.”

Additionally, the union said, “We are in contact with FedEx management as we advocate to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of our crewmembers operating in Hong Kong. However, every day that passes with crews being exposed to these conditions is unacceptable.”

Hong Kong itself has recently been in the news as the People’s Republic of China that governs the city-state has implemented new security laws aimed at clamping down on local demonstrations protesting the increase in government oversight of the Hong Kong population. In response to the actions of the Chinese government, sources report that FedEx is considering transferring traffic away from the Hong Kong hub to another location, possibly Manila.