BEIJING – The shares of Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific reached on Monday their lowest value in 10 years after Beijing banned the entry into mainland China of any employee of the company who has participated in the protests in the last two months in the special autonomous region.
Around 2 pm local time, each Cathay Pacific share was worth 9.87 Hong Kong dollars ($1.26), although it had earlier in the morning plunged to HK$9.82, levels not seen since July 2009.
The performance of Cathay Pacific shares also affected its parent company, the Swire Pacific conglomerate, which tumbled 5.4 percent in the morning, reaching a new low since October 2018.
Swire Pacific controls 45 percent of Cathay Pacific, and another 22 percent belongs to Chinese airline Air China, which recorded a drop of up to 1.53 percent on Monday morning.
On Friday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said that a Cathay Pacific pilot had been formally charged with a crime of “revolt,” punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for participating in unauthorized protests.
The CAAC denounced that the company had allowed the pilot to continue flying and said that such incidents severely affect aviation security.
The body also requested that the airline send a list with details of all personnel flying over Chinese airspace for review.
Not a single flight of the airline or its subsidiaries was canceled or suffered delays during the weekend.
In recent weeks, Beijing has reiterated its unwavering support for the government of Hong Kong and the local police, calling for law and order to be restored at the earliest.
Meanwhile, protesters returned to the streets of the autonomous region for the 10th weekend in a row.
The protests began in June against a controversial extradition bill but have been extended to a series of demands seeking to improve the former British colony’s democratic mechanisms.