Hong Kong asks Japan to drop airport bans, 60,000 travellers affected

Hong Kong asks Japan to drop airport bans, 60,000 travellers affected

HONG KONG, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Hong Kong has asked Japan to withdraw a COVID-19 restriction that permits passenger flights from the monetary hub to land only at four specified airports, saying the choice would impact about 60,000 passengers.

India, Italy, Taiwan and the United States need obligatory COVID-19 assessments on travellers from China just after Beijing’s decision last thirty day period to carry stringent zero-COVID insurance policies that fuelled a surge in infections across mainland China.

Hong Kong, house to extra than 7 million individuals, is recording around 20,000 coronavirus circumstances a day but lifted its COVID curbs on Thursday for the initial time in a few many years.

Japan, a top travel desired destination for individuals in Hong Kong, said it would restrict flights from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China to Tokyo’s two airports, as effectively as Osaka and Nagoya, from Friday.

The choice comes during a peak journey time forward of the Lunar New 12 months vacation which starts on Jan. 21.

“It is recognized that all over 250 outbound flights of Hong Kong airlines will be affected concerning December 30, 2022 and the finish of January 2023, influencing about 60,000 travellers,” the governing administration stated in a assertion late on Wednesday.

Town leader John Lee mentioned the federal government experienced indicated to Japan that it was upset.

“We think that Hong Kong individuals should really be authorized to use not just these 4 airports,” Lee claimed.

On Thursday, Hong Kong’s governing administration reported Japan would let passenger flights from Hong Kong also land in Hokkaido, Fukuoka and Okinawa presented that no passengers aboard experienced been in mainland China for the prior 7 times, but stated the affliction was “unreasonable”.

Flights of Hong Kong airways can continue to carry passengers again to Hong Kong from airports in Japan, the authorities claimed, to be certain their clean return and “minimise the impact to Hong Kong travellers brought about by the incident.”

In a statement, Hong Kong’s flagship provider Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK) mentioned it would keep on to function flights to Japan, though it would lower these to 65 a week, down 20% from its planned routine for Jan 2023.

HK Express, which is owned by Cathay, mentioned in a separate assertion it would only be ready to function 60 scheduled flights a 7 days to locations in Japan because of to the curbs, prompting the cancellation of 41 flights from Hong Kong to Japan in January.

Hong Kong Airways and Peach Aviation reported they would terminate some flight routes due to the fact of the procedures.

In December, China started dismantling the world’s strictest COVID regime of lockdowns and substantial screening, placing its battered financial state on study course for a finish re-opening following yr.

The lifting of curbs following common protests has intended that COVID is spreading largely unchecked, almost certainly infecting millions of persons each and every day, some global overall health gurus have reported.

Reporting by Farah Master and Twinnie Siu Enhancing by Lincoln Feast and Stephen Coates

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.