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Water Tank Samples on Cathay Fail to Meet Health Standards, Airline Provides Bottled Water Instead

Water Tank Samples on Cathay Fail to Meet Health Standards, Airline Provides Bottled Water Instead
Joe Cortez

Flyers offered bottled water on 14 Cathay Pacific aircraft, after on-board drinking water fails health inspection

Cathay Pacific is offering bottled water to flyers after health officials say the on-board drinking water did not meet quality standards. The South China Morning Post reports a total of 14 aircraft were affected after testing by the Hong Kong Department of Health.

According to the newspaper, the investigation was completed by the airline, in conjunction with the Department of Health, the Hong Kong Airport Authority, and the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company. The testing revealed that water aboard those aircraft failed to meet health standards and may have been contaminated by bacteria.

Both Cathay Pacific and the Health Department did not elaborate on the nature of the contamination, nor have they found a source of the contamination. A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific told the South China Morning Post: “The tests are still ongoing. We will announce the results once they are available.”

While the airline did not elaborate on which aircraft were affected, an unidentified Cathay Pacific pilot told the South China Morning Post that some Boeing 777 aircraft were among those contaminated. In addition, the pilot told the newspaper that E.coli was not detected in the tests, quoting an internal statement from the airline.

Cathay Pacific has reacted to the situation by sterilizing nine of the aircraft water tanks and offering bottled water to all of those aboard the affected aircraft. Officials at the air carrier told the newspaper that they planned to complete water tank sterilization on the other five aircraft upon their return to their home bases.

Although the source has not yet been formally identified, experts speculate the contamination may have been introduced by water trucks serving the aircraft. “If the pipes are polluted, the water truck would get contaminated,” Chim Wing-nin from the Hong Kong Division of Engineers Aviation Division told the South China Morning Post. “On the other hand, it could be a problem with the truck even with clean pipes.”

[Photo: iStock]

View Comments (2)


  1. pdsales

    June 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Interestingly, they were rated #4 in overall cleanliness based on a passenger survey.

    Which reminds us to take passenger surveys with a grain of salt. Surveys are just opinions and opinions must take a back seat to facts that can be proven by culturing for bacteria.

  2. JohnnyGlobal

    June 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    …passenger surveys are obviously based only on what the passenger sees with his or her own eyes. Good reminder that we should sometimes be more afraid of the things that we can’t see. Imagine how disgusting the seats, floors, window shades, tray tables, entertainment units, etc are on all of these aircraft. And one can only imagine how these water tanks are sterilized…probably would make one not ever want to touch anything but bottled beverages again!

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