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Hong Kong airport sees second day of flight disruption

13 Aug 2019 by Michael Allen
Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday 13 August, 2019. Image: Jasmine Chan

Update at 1726 GMT, August 13: Hong Kong Airport Authority issued a statement at 2230 on Tuesday stating that flights would be rescheduled on Wednesday.

It warned passengers there may be further disruptions and urged them to check for the latest updates with their airlines.

However the situation remained unclear as tensions escalated at the airport during the late evening, with riot police arriving and attempting to move the protesters on.

A note on the airport website currently reads: “Terminal operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, and all check-in processes have now been suspended. All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.”

Tear gas and batons were used, the Guardian reported.

Twitter footage showed dramatic clashes between demonstrators and the police.

Story at 1445 GMT, August 13:

Hong Kong International Airport was forced to suspend check-in services for all departing flights on Tuesday afternoon, as hundreds of demonstrators occupied the area around the check-in aisles from about 1430 before making their way towards departure gates in an escalation of their protest. At least 1,000 remained in the arrivals section.

In a statement published at 1715 local time (0915 GMT), the Airport Authority of Hong Kong said: “Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all departure flights have been cancelled. All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.”

The cancellations came after all flights out of the airport were suspended on Monday evening.

Virgin Atlantic said that VS206 from London Heathrow to Hong Kong would depart as planned at 2150 Tuesday evening. However VS207 from Hong Kong to Heathrow is delayed until 1000 local time on Wednesday 14 and will operate as VS1207.

It said that passengers would need to arrange their own accommodation and claim “a reasonable cost” back from the airline via receipts.

Cathay Pacific has posted the following statement:

“Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have been informed by the Airport Authority in Hong Kong that all check-in has been suspended as a result of the public assembly at Hong Kong International Airport, which is ongoing. There is 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.

“With immediate effect, all charges and fare differences will be waived for certain ticket changes.”

Passengers can check here for the latest information from the airline.

It is currently unclear how many flights will operate from the airport on Wednesday 14, and the airport still appeared to be full of people at 2130.

Aviation analytics firm Cirium estimates that 515 flights which had been due to depart Hong Kong International Airport between midday Monday and midday Tuesday were unable to take off due to the protests, disrupting over 103,000 passengers (assuming flights would have operated at least 80 per cent full).

It says a similar number are likely to face disruption over the next 24 hours.

Protesters spread leaflets on the floor criticising Hong Kong police, who they accuse of violence during the demonstrations.

Anger intensified after a woman was pictured bleeding heavily from her eye on Sunday.

Assistant Police Commissioner Mak Chin-ho has denied there is evidence that the woman was shot by a police projectile, the BBC reports.

Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday 13 August, 2019. Image: Jasmine Chan

Original story, published 1300 HK time, August 13

Hong Kong’s airport authority has said it will implement flight rescheduling today, after protest at the airport led it to cancel all flights on Monday evening.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority said that flight movements are expected to be affected.

“Passengers are reminded to pay attention to the latest flight information through the airport’s website and ‘HKG My Flight’ mobile app. Please confirm the flights before heading to the airport. Passengers can also check with their airlines for the latest flight information,” it said in a statement posted on its website.

English-language newspaper South China Morning Post reported today that anti-government protesters have vowed to return to Hong Kong airport. Demonstrators were expected to return to the airport today by 1300.

As of 8am Tuesday, 160 departing flights and 150 arrivals, due to leave or land at the airport between midnight on Monday evening and 11.55pm on Tuesday, had been cancelled, the newspaper said.

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific is posting the latest flights updates here.

Demonstrations have been taking place across the Special Administrative Region since early June, which were initially against a controversial extradition bill, but demands have broadened to police accountability and calls for a more democratic system of government.

Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all departure flights have been cancelled. All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.

Has your flight been disrupted by the situation in Hong Kong? Tell us about it in the comment section below. 

Additional reporting by Jenni Reid

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