Date
26 March 2017
Cathay chief pilot Evan Summerfield makes a live video-streaming presentation from the cockpit of an A350 plane. Photos: Bloomberg, Facebook/Cathay Pacific
Cathay chief pilot Evan Summerfield makes a live video-streaming presentation from the cockpit of an A350 plane. Photos: Bloomberg, Facebook/Cathay Pacific

Cathay presentation shows how companies avoid offending Beijing

There’s one cardinal, though unwritten, rule for companies operating in China: try not to offend your host.

That’s obviously the reason why cosmetics giant Lancôme canceled a promotional event, in which Hong Kong pro-democracy pop star Denise Ho Wan-see was originally invited to perform.

The move triggered a lot of controversy in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy groups called for a boycott of the French conglomerate’s products and shops.

That’s also evident in a video presentation made by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. to introduce its new Airbus A350 aircraft.

The airline, which has ordered 48 units of the plane model to join its fleet, arranged for one of its chief pilots, Evan Summerfield, to make a live video-streaming presentation Wednesday afternoon on its Facebook page from the cockpit of an A350 plane parked at a hangar of Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd., standnews.com reports.

Everything went smoothly as the pilot discussed the features of the new plane up until the Q&A session in which he fielded questions from his online audience.

One netizen asked him if an A350 provides in-flight Wi-Fi service, and the pilot said there is absolutely no problem, adding that passengers can choose from several pricing packages.

However, Summerfield noted that passengers might be blocked from using Wi-Fi when the aircraft is flying within China’s airspace.

“At the moment, the only limitation [is], I think China, where there’s a Geo-block that we …,” he said, and was interrupted, after which he exchanged a few words with someone sitting beside him but not seen in the video.

When he resumed talking, the pilot, with an awkward smile on his face, said: “That’s all of it, Wi-Fi.”

Netizens suspected that Summerfield was talking to someone from Cathay’s public relations department, the report said.

China tightly controls the internet, and blocks many foreign-based websites such as Facebook and Google.

The abrupt ending to the presentation baffled many people who were watching it.

 “Come on, CX, can’t say anything bad about China?” one netizen commented.

In a Facebook reply later, Cathay said: “We can now confirm that our in-flight Wi-Fi has global coverage.”

Well, is that so? OK then.

[Go to Video]

(The discussion about the Wi-Fi service is in the last two minutes)

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TL/AC/CG

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