International carriers and travellers flying into Hong Kong are facing greater hurdles, with the city’s government cracking down on imported Covid-19 cases, according to the South China Morning Post.
British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are among the first carriers to breach the revised regulations and will suspend passenger services to Hong Kong for two weeks.
New rules by the Hong Kong government require airlines to ensure those travelling to the city provide comprehensive health and travel history, as well as proof of booking at a quarantine hotel. Additionally, passengers from high-risk locations must present a negative test result prior to departure.
Failure to comply can lead to a two-week flight suspension for the transporting airline if at least one positive case is detected upon arrival, as in the case of British Airways and KLM. Previously, the ban only applied to carriers with five or more positive cases detected upon arrival, or three positive cases recorded across two consecutive flights.
A KLM spokesperson told Business Traveller:
“Due to stricter new Covid-19 measures, KLM is temporarily not allowed to take passengers to Hong Kong. KLM flies with cargo from Amsterdam to Hong Kong and with passengers and cargo back to Amsterdam. KLM is still discussing the length of the period to which this measure applies.”
British Airways has also offered affected passengers the option of flying from London with another airline, changing the departure date, or requesting a refund, reported South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association is developing a digital health pass to store travellers’ health data. It will help airlines quickly and accurately verify eligibility to enter a foreign country. A release date for the IATA Travel Pass has yet to be announced.