Hong Kong Airport Suspends ALL Flights

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The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong show no sign of abating and indeed continue to escalate. The latest disruption is at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), where all flights have been cancelled today.

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In a brief statement on its website the airport authorities posted that,

“(a)irport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all 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.”

As of 12:05pm in the UK (19:05 in Hong Kong), the BBC is reporting that some of the protesters are now leaving the airport in advance of possible police action. It seems unlikely though that normal operations at the airport will resume any time soon.

If you are scheduled to fly to/from Hong Kong today or tomorrow, contact your airline as soon as possible to find out what options are available to you.


    • Joe Deeney says

      I was in Hong Kong a few weeks ago and have friends who live there – the vast majority of the protesting, so far, has been peaceful (including at the airport).

      It’s certainly fair to say that the clashes between some protestors and some members of law enforcement have been extremely ugly (and naturally those are the sort of dramatic scenes that tend to lead news bulletins), but it really isn’t representative of the wider protests. It’s definitely not representative of daily life in Hong Kong, which for the most part continues more or less as usual unless you’re directly involved. Things do now appear to be getting worse, but if you turned up expecting riots all over the place and general lawlessness, you’d be very surprised by the reality.

      I think what most people can probably agree on though is that it’s a situation that does now require de-escalation, but sadly seems to be heading in the wrong direction. To put it another way, I’d personally be perfectly happy travelling to HK again this week (assuming the airport was back up and running!), but would be apprehensive of what the situation might be like in a few months time on the current trajectory.

      • John says

        Thank you Joe for your input. I am a permanent resident of Hong Kong and I agree with what you said about the situation requiring deescalation but I hardly think throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails at police officers, destroying private properties, and blocking public transportation can be categorized as peaceful protests. These people, either driven by simple naivety or their own political agenda, have acted in the most irresponsible way, disrupting the daily lives of Hong Kong citizens and normal business operations. I do not support these so called pro democracy protesters and encourage travelers to avoid traveling though HKG airport until the situation is under control.

        • Joe Deeney says

          Thanks for the reply John – always good to get the perspective of someone from HK!

          I think everyone can agree that acts of violence and the destruction of private property are terrible and, by definition, not peaceful. However, I do maintain that even now it’s a small minority of protestors that are engaged in such actions. There’s also a question as to whether police tactics and political decisions have escalated situations that could otherwise have been resolved, or at least alleviated, more peacefully. I’m not suggesting for a second that policing large scale protests is easy mind you – it must be particularly awful for the officers involved, some of whom will presumably even have sympathy for the aims of the protestors, if not the methods.

          (Peacefully) protesting, including interrupting transportation and other types of civil disobedience, have long been established as legitimate forms of democratic protest though – however inconvenient the results of those actions may be. They are very, very different things from engaging in violence – and I’m sure you would agree it’s that sort of behaviour that the vast majority of protestors have been involved in, rather than violence.

          Ultimately, when such a large proportion of people feel so strongly about something, the only way to resolve things is genuine dialogue (leading to meaningful compromise on both sides). If that dialogue doesn’t occur, it is inevitable that people will continue to protest in an attempt to get their voices heard.

          I suppose the question I would ask is (given the political system in HK) if you personally felt very strongly that something was unjust or should change, how would you seek to bring that change about?

          • John says

            Thank you John for your comments. Hong Kong has had a well functioning parliamentary system for over two decades since it was returned to China in 1997, where it led the world in terms of political transparency, accountability, and protection of human rights. The main issue facing Hong Kong currently are not political ones but the same ones polarizing societies in the UK, Europe, and Americas, namely unequal distribution of economic interests and cultural resentments between native and mainland Chinese and other immigrant groups. The key issue is, radical politicians and the media exploited these issues to further their own agenda, encouraging young people to turn to a problematic form of identity politics not essentially different from populist politics advocated by radical political parties in the west. This is what I think of the situation and why I do not support the so called protestors.

  1. Lesley says

    I still wouldn’t be planning a trip to Hong Kong any time soon. We got caught up in a weather related disruption there last year where all flights out of HKG were cancelled that day. Cathay did not book us on a replacement flight till 5 days later and we missed a whole leg of our tour. It was bedlam there and you couldn’t even get through to the Cathay line to find out what was going on with your flights. .

    I’d advise anyone travelling there to take out insurance that covers being able to book your own flight if your flight gets cancelled. Then you are not at the mercy of the airline that cancelled your flight. Btw this kind of insurance costs quite a lot more and is more extensive than the credit card travel insurance. .

  2. Craig Sowerby says

    I’ll be going to Hong Kong in a month… 🙂

    I don’t have any real concerns, other than the fact that I’ve only left the standard overnight stop between my flight leaving HK and a separate ticket flight back to the UK from Dubai.

    Could get expensive…

  3. andyT says

    I visited Hong Kong earlier this year and would have no qualms about travelling there again now if I had the time. There are worse things in life that can happen than being delayed at an airport.

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