HONG KONG: 14 August 2019: Following hundreds of cancelled flights on Monday disruptions continued throughout Tuesday as protesters regrouped at the airport.
Airport services came to a standstill by mid-Tuesday as thousands of protesters took over the terminal building. Riot police arrived in the late evening to confront protesters, leading to scuffles and violent clashes.
Airport authorities issued a statement saying all check-in and flights had been cancelled for the second day in a row.
Travel firms and the South China Morning Post confirmed 160 outbound and 150 inbound flights were cancelled on Tuesday. Around 100 flights were cancelled on Monday as more than 5.000 protesters occupied the terminal.
Cathay Pacific’s website confirmed midday Tuesday that 200 flights had been cancelled in and out of the airport Tuesday and that it would only operate a few flights for connecting passengers for the remainder of the day.
Noting that the “public assembly at Hong Kong International Airport, is ongoing” the airline suspended check-ins and there was potential for further flight disruptions at short notice.
“Customers are therefore encouraged to postpone non-essential travel from Hong Kong on Tuesday 13 August and Wednesday 14 August and should not proceed to the airport.”
Thai Airways International confirmed it had cancelled a Tuesday evening flight to Hong Kong and until further notice suspended all flights on Wednesday. Around 500 Thai tourists are stranded at Hong Kong airport.
Protests in Hong Kong are now entering their 11th week resulting in chaos on the streets. Hong Kong’s tourism faces mass cancellations particularly hotel bookings.
News reports say hotels confirmed occupancies fell from the high 80s to leas than 30%, shops struggle, and bellwether Disneyland has suffered a drop in bookings from its family fans around the region.
Last week, city leader Carrie Lam warned that the international financial hub was facing an economic crisis worse than either the 2003 SARS outbreak that paralysed Hong Kong or the 2008 financial crisis.
Hong Kong Tourism Board told AFP that forward bookings for August and September “dropped significantly”, suggesting the economic toll would linger to at least October.
Travel warnings have been issued by the
United States, the UK, Canada and Australia.
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand warned citizens to cut all but
essential travel to Hong Kong.