Cathay Pacific Airways said on Monday it would in July launch initiatives to improve Mandarin language and cultural understanding, including hiring cabin staff from mainland China, after three crew were fired over discrimination, reports Reuters. The announcement, sent in an internal memo to staff and seen by Reuters, said all cabin crew would be given “culture training” and that Cathay would increase the scope of Mandarin-speaking services amongst the cabin team.
The move came weeks after Cathay Pacific fired three flight attendants following passenger accusations of bias against non-English speakers, prompting criticism on Chinese state media.
“Widening our crew’s Putonghua coverage is a key objective under this initiative, given the increasing proportion of our customers who speak Putonghua,” Cathay’s CEO Ronald Lam said in the memo. Mandarin is also known as Putonghua. The discrimination incident in May went viral on mainland Chinese social media platforms and prompted a torrent of criticism by Chinese state media and Hong Kong government officials, including leader John Lee.