Date
18 October 2017
Tests have shown that water tanks in about 10 percent of Cathay's fleet have been contaminated, according to a report. Photo: AFP
Tests have shown that water tanks in about 10 percent of Cathay's fleet have been contaminated, according to a report. Photo: AFP

Cathay seeks to resolve water-quality problems on some planes

Cathay Pacific Airways is said to have launched an investigation after finding that drinking water supplied from on-board tanks on some of its planes contained excessive bacteria.

The carrier is working with the Department of Health, the Airport Authority and ground handling agents to look into what might have caused the contamination, Apple Daily reported.

The investigation came after the airline, which was ranked the fourth in terms of cabin cleanliness in a global airline survey this year, found contaminated water on 14 of its 146 planes, or about 10 percent of the fleet, following drinking water quality tests earlier this week.

Water quality was deemed inadequate on five Boeing 777s, five Airbus A330s and four other aircraft. Some of the planes had been in service for less than two years, according to the report.

Water-tank cleaning and sterilization work has been completed on eight of the affected planes, while the remaining six will also see the problem fixed soon, the health department was quoted as saying.

The Airport Authority said pipes used at the three water-supply stations of the airport have been cleaned immediately following the news of the water-quality tests.

Some experts believe that the source of contamination was not from water supply overseas, but from within the premise of the Hong Kong airport.

Cathay said it has taken contingency measures to cope with the situation, including offering bottled water to passengers on the planes in question and calling on passengers to refrain from brushing teeth with on-board tap water.

Meanwhile, flight attendants on those planes have seen their workload increase as serving hot water, tea and coffee has become more difficult due to unusable on-board water tanks.

Dora Lai Yuk-sim, chairwoman of Cathay’s cabin crew union, urged the carrier to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

She pointed out that supplying bottled water to passengers for all their needs would be difficult. 

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TL/AC/RC

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