Chinese Airline Fires Pilot for Buzzing Airport

A Cathay Pacific Airways pilot was fired after he swooped down and buzzed a Seattle-area airfield without permission while taking delivery of a Boeing 777-300ER passenger jet, the airline said Wednesday.

The Hong Kong carrier — which would not identify the pilot — said it was still investigating the Jan. 30 fly-by event at Paine Field, 30 miles north of downtown Seattle and home to a Boeing plant.

Cathay spokeswoman Carolyn Leung said the pilot was dismissed last week because he did not seek or obtain approval for the fly-by, which has been done several times before at air shows with the airline's permission.

An airline statement said another pilot on the plane has been subject to disciplinary proceedings, but Leung would not elaborate on the case or other details.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported Sunday that the airline's chairman, Christopher Pratt, was on the plane when the pilot swooped back over the Boeing plant shortly after taking off.

Images of the stunt were posted on YouTube and the Web site of a Seattle-area plane spotter, Matt Cawby.

The 777-300ER is 242 feet long, weighs about 350 tons and is listed at $264 million.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Mike Fergus, told The Seattle Times the flyby was under investigation.