Passengers departing from the Chinese mainland will be able to transfer at Hong Kong International Airport from Saturday to October 15, while transfer and transit services for those traveling to destinations in the Chinese mainland will remain unavailable, said the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) Thursday.
Passengers must book transfer or transit flights operated by different airline groups on the same ticket. Passengers will be checked through with both boarding passes printed and baggage sent to their final destination. The layover time must be under 24 hours.
The AAHK has also implemented a host of enhanced health measures at the Hong Kong airport, considering the need to protect public health and closely monitor the changing pandemic situation.
All passengers and airport staff must wear masks while in the airport, in line with the latest requirement of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Other health requirements including body temperature screening are obligatory.
An industry observer who preferred to be anonymous told the Global Times that the airport’s move provides one more channel for people to go abroad, especially for students who are scheduled to travel to other countries for study in the autumn.
The measure could help improve the airport’s performance to some extent but it will take much longer for the airport to turn decreases in the number of passengers into growth, Wang Yanan, an industry expert and chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge, told the Global Times Thursday.
“Social unrest in Hong Kong over more than a year makes international passengers tend to avoid transit flights in the city, so the airport is unlikely to see an increase in passengers until the city can give people confidence that it’s worth a brief stay,” Wang said, noting that the airport may see a rebound in passengers in 2021.
Due to the global pandemic and entry restrictions for non-Hong Kong residents, Hong Kong International Airport handled 8.3 million passengers in the first half of 2020, down 78.1 percent year-on-year.
Hong Kong has been gradually resuming transfer and transit services since June 15.
The enhanced measures at the Hong Kong airport introduced from June 1 remain effective and will be applied to travelers from all origins and to all destinations, said the airport authority.
Source: Global Times