The airline’s aircrew have already been observing a series of rostering and anti-epidemic measures to minimize their exposure to the coronavirus abroad and the possibility of them bringing it back to the city.

The carrier said on Tuesday it might need to go further and have Hong Kong-based employees live outside the city for two to four months.

“We are exploring options and seeking expressions of interest from pilots to participate in temporary extended roster patterns,” Cathay said in an email statement.

The move by Cathay came as the city earlier quarantined up to 130 of its cargo flight pilots who had stayed at a Frankfurt hotel, the same hotel that saw three others tested positive for Covid over the past week.

Cathay added that it was reviewing its aircrew resources, and that “we are trying our best to maintain our cargo network as much as we can”.

On Monday, the Hong Kong airline announced a new set of enhanced self-isolation rules for its aircrew, with more restrictions imposed on their daily activities on the first three days upon their return to Hong Kong.

They can only leave home for two hours to carry out essential activities, including “purchasing food and essential daily necessities”, “solo exercising”, “seeking medical attention” and taking a Covid-19 test, according to an internal memo sent to staffers.

The enhanced isolation requirements would be lifted only after the aircrew tested negative in a Covid test taken on day three. However, they are still required to avoid group gatherings for another four days. The aircrew are also reminded to keep a log of the locations they have visited.

Aircrew will be required to submit up to six PCR Covid-19 tests over the course of 19 days, as well as additional daily rapid antigen tests for their first seven days back in the city.

Meanwhile, the memo wrote that all crews on stopovers must proceed to and from their aircraft directly without stopping in airport retail outlets, travel as a group in company-arranged transport to and from their accommodation, and self-isolate in their hotel room while abroad.

The memo also noted that all crew members are required to get their third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine after the completion of the six-month interval from their second dose no later than April 30 next year.