Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is resuming transit services starting today (June 1), after they were suspended for over two months in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) says that it has implemented a range of health measures at the airport for passengers transiting through the aviation hub.
“We have been working closely with the government, airlines and our business partners to put in place a set of comprehensive measures to ensure a smooth resumption of transfer/transit services and a safe end-to-end journey for passengers,” said Vivian Cheung, executive director, airport operations of the AA.
All passengers, including departing, arriving and transfer/transit passengers, as well as airport staff are required to wear face masks in all passenger accessible areas of HKIA’s restricted area “until further notice”.
Other measures include the following:
- All transfer/transit and arriving passengers must undergo body temperature screening upon arrival.
- Transfer/transit passengers are requested to go directly to the boarding gates for their connecting flights immediately.
- Transfer/transit passengers are given stickers at transfer points for identification purpose.
- Passengers have to keep a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other when standing in queues.
- Alcohol-based hand rub dispensers and sanitising floor mats are available at each arrival gate and “throughout the entire terminal”.
- Cleaning and disinfection of the boarding gate area and airbridge are carried out after each arriving flight.
- Protective screens are installed at service counters, including airline check-in counters and customer services centres.
- Designated dining areas are set up for transfer/transit passengers.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a drastic decline in passengers at Asia’s airports. The number of people travelling in and out of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) dropped to just 32,000 in April, indicating that traffic was down by 99.5 percent in April 2020 compared to April 2019. Air traffic statistics posted by the airport also show that HKIA saw 9,445 flights in April, a year-on-year decrease of 73.5 per percent.
Hong Kong’s airport has also introduced other cleaning and disinfection measures recently in an effort to step up hygiene practices amid the coronavirus crisis. This includes self-driving robots that use UV light sterilisers to kill germs in public areas.
The airport authority also says frequently touched surfaces are cleaned every hour and treated with antimicrobial coating. It is now testing a full-body disinfecting machine that is currently only for airport staff, but it could be used to spray sanitiser on passengers in the future.