Hong Kong has used the controversial flight stop mechanism 23 times so far this month, on average more than once a day, making long-haul flights relatively rare at airports in the city.
On April 1, the government revised the Covid regulations and Abolished the total ban on flights from 9 countries and shortened the quarantine period for arrivals to 7 days.. Only fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents can board the plane.
However, the flight suspension mechanism remains the same. If three or more passengers on the flight are found to be infected with Covid-19 on arrival, or if they do not submit the required documents such as health status and travel history, the airline will take a specific route. You are prohibited from flying for 7 days.
On Thursday alone, 11 routes were banned. According to the Center for Health Protection, Hong Kong has issued 23 flight suspension orders to 14 airlines between April 1st and Wednesday.
Long-distance arrivals remain rare. On Thursday, there were three from outside Asia, compared to two on Wednesday.
International Air Transport Association Secretary William Walsh warned that Hong Kong was “virtually off the map” a few days after travel restrictions were relaxed on April 1. “I’m looking elsewhere.”
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Suspension mechanism to be reviewed
At a meeting of the Legislative Council last week, Congressman Perry Yu, who represents tourism function members, criticized the flight suspension mechanism as “irrational and unscientific.”
Yiu said the current mechanism was too strict for airlines to operate normally.
In response to Yiu, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan said he would consider policies with health authorities when the pandemic was curbed and restored to normal.
Mr. Chan said he understands that the restrictions in the three cases are “strict”. However, he said the suspension mechanism is “an important threshold for protecting Hong Kong from infectious disease imports.”
On Wednesday, the city recorded 668 new Covid cases, 13 of which were imported.
Meanwhile, data provided by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) in response to HKFP inquiries showed an increase in passenger flights since April 1.
AAHK told HKFP that some airlines modified passenger planes to carry cargo only during the Covid-19 pandemic.However, until April 1st, Hong Kong International Airport Website The flight information display system described them as passenger flights.
AAHK said that from the beginning of April, the airport has stopped displaying flight information for such flights in order to “avoid confusion”.
Pre-April policy has clearly reduced the number of passenger flights displayed to visitors this month.
However, according to the latest data from AAHK, a total of 251 “passenger-carrying flights” will be operated at the city’s international airport between April 1st and 13th, from March 19th to 31st. Increased by 77 from the period.