Cathay sex scandal grounds adverts

John Slosar, chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways, said two
members of crew ‘shown in compromising situations’ in the photographs
‘are no longer employees of the company’.

John Slosar, chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways, said two
members of crew ‘shown in compromising situations’ in the photographs
‘are no longer employees of the company’. Photograph: Jerome
Favre/Bloomberg

A sex scandal has forced Cathay Pacific to review a marketing campaign
that bills the airline as “the team who go the extra mile to make you
feel special,” a company spokeswoman said yesterday.

The Hong Kong carrier opened an investigation last week after photos
were published on the Internet of a woman in a red outfit resembling
its cabin crew uniform performing a sexual act on a man, reportedly
her boyfriend, on board.

Two Cathay employees subsequently left the company, but the
embarrassing episode – which reportedly took place in the cockpit –
has caused the airline to consider postponing its “People and Service”
campaign.

“We are thinking of holding the campaign back for a little while
because the timing doesn’t suit us at the moment,” said a spokeswoman,
noting that the “extra mile” slogan was unveiled in 2010.

The emergence of the photographs is considered to have compromised the
advertising campaign, where cabin crew and staff are to be featured on
billboards and newspaper and magazine slots, a newspaper report 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 slogan was being used in online adverts on Sunday, although the
spokeswoman, citing confidentiality reasons, told AFP she could not
disclose if it would subsequently be used on billboards or other
advertising.

Cathay chief executive John Slosar said in a statement released late
on Friday that two members of crew “shown in compromising situations”
in the photographs “are no longer employees of the company”.

It was not clear whether the pair were sacked or resigned voluntarily,
as the airline said it would not disclose details.

The airline also refused to say whether the incident took place in the
plane’s cockpit, but said the investigation found no evidence to
suggest the act happened on any of its flights while airborne.

The unidentified man in the photo, who was said to be a pilot but was
not wearing a Cathay pilot’s uniform, has reportedly told a local
newspaper that the photos were stolen from his personal computer.