Lifestyle & Belief

Cathay Pacific rethinks marketing campaign after cockpit sex scandal


Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar.


Laurent Fievet

Cathay Pacific is considering scrapping an advertising campaign describing the airline as "the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special," after a pilot and stewardess photographed themselves having oral sex in a cockpit.

The unidentified pilot and attendant left the airline last week following an internal investigation into photographs which appeared online showing them having sex apparently at the controls of a passenger jet.

As reported earlier on GlobalPost, the plane was not airborne at the time but Chief Executive John spokeswoman said he would not tolerate any behavior that "recklessly soils the reputation of our company."

A spokeswoman told AFP news agency the airline was considering postponing its "People and Service" campaign, due to launch in September.

"We are thinking of holding the campaign back for a little while because the timing doesn't suit us at the moment," she said.

"The timing of this scandal really could not have been worse in marketing terms," a Cathay management source was quoted as telling the Sunday Morning Post.

"The scope for the slogan and the campaign to be misinterpreted, or ridiculed and lampooned, in light of the cockpit incident, is obvious."

The existence of the photos was first reported in Chinese blogs a week ago. Industry sources initially said they suspected they were a malicious stunt designed to hurt the company.

The woman in the photograph was wearing a Cathay Pacific stewardess uniform, while the pilot's face was not shown.

The pair reportedly are a couple and told their employer the photographs were stolen from the pilot's laptop and distributed online without his knowledge.

The BBC said the airline would hand over the results of its investigation to Hong Kong's civil aviation authorities.