Those flying from the Chinese mainland will soon be able to transit through Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). HKIA announced this new policy on Thursday, adding that transit through HKIA would be available from August 15 to October 15; however, transiting to the Chinese mainland will remain banned.
The new policy is aimed to boost Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways’ business along with “helping students resume studies at overseas universities, given rival Hong Kong Airlines flies only regionally in Asia,” reports Reuters. However, as transiting will only be one-way, Cathay said it “is likely to have [a] limited impact.”
The Center for Health Protection Communicable Disease Branch head, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, stated that flights transiting from the Chinese mainland through the city would not pose a serious risk to public health as “there aren’t that many cases… on the mainland right now, so... the impact to Hong Kong would not be that big.” Additionally, “transit passengers would be leaving [the city] directly, and would not stay [in Hong Kong] beyond 24 hours.”
All HKIA transit services were suspended on March 25, and subsequently resumed on June 1 with exception to the Chinese mainland.
The transit rules are the following, as reported by SCMP:
Passengers need to have flights booked on one ticket
Passengers must receive boarding passes for all trips at check-in and have bags checked through to their final destination
Transit passengers can only layover in HKIA for 24 hours or less, and they will be required to go directly to their next flight’s boarding gate, as per current COVID-19 measures, to limit contact with travelers originating from Hong Kong.
In the first half of the year, Cathay reported a record loss of HKD9.87 billion (USD1.27 billion) and carried 76% less passengers compared to 2019. The airline stated that they “will not rule out the possibility of further job cuts and [do] not expect a recovery in the second half [of the year].”
[Cover image via Unsplash]