In the name of zero-Covid, Hong Kong authorities are continuing to crack down on the city’s home airline.
Cathay Pacific has once again run afoul of Hong Kong’s recently tightened coronavirus rules. As two services from Los Angeles on December 26 and 28 each had two passengers who tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival, and one incoming flight from Toronto on the 28th brought in three infected travelers, health officials have banned Cathay’s passenger flights from both cities until January 11, 2022. The embattled airline is already serving two-week suspensions on its services from New York and London Heathrow.
Cathay Pacific is currently grappling with a staff shortage caused by stringent pandemic regulations. Hong Kong authorities have now scrapped quarantine exemptions for air crew on all passenger flights from outside Mainland China, a snap decision that came into effect at midnight on Thursday. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Cathay Pacific was “at risk of widespread flight cancellations” because it had not secured enough hotel rooms to meet the new government requirements. This comes a day after authorities introduced a rule forcing locally based aircrew on cargo flights to quarantine in a hotel for three days upon their return to the city (they were previously allowed to self-isolate at home).
Finnair has also canceled all Hong Kong–bound services between December 30 and January 12 citing new restrictions, with passengers notified of the change through an email sent by Finnair Customer Service; two-week suspensions for both Finnair and Turkish Airlines have just been announced by the Hong Kong government. Local media outlets report that Cebu Pacific flights from Manila are being banned from New Year’s Eve until January 13, after an incoming domestic worker tested positive on arrival yesterday, the fourth case within the past seven days on the route.
A record 10 airline routes have been suspended by the Hong Kong government as of December 30:
|Airline||Flight No.||Origin||Banned through…|
|Cathay Pacific||CX 845||New York JFK||Jan. 2|
|Qatar Airways||QR 818||Doha||Jan. 4|
|Emirates||EK 384||Dubai via Bangkok||Jan. 7|
|Cathay Pacific||CX 252||London Heathrow||Jan. 8|
|Korean Air||KE 607||Seoul Incheon||Jan. 8|
|Cathay Pacific||CX 881||Los Angeles||Jan. 11|
|CX 829||Toronto||Jan. 11|
|Cebu Pacific||5J 272||Manila||Jan. 12|
|Finnair||AY 101||Helsinki||Jan. 12|
|Turkish Airlines||TK 083||Istanbul||Jan. 12|