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“Hong Kong Is Closed”: Civil Unrest at Hong Kong Airport

“Hong Kong Is Closed”: Civil Unrest at Hong Kong Airport
Jeff Edwards

A massive public assembly has effectively shut down operations at Hong Kong International Airport. Thousands of protesters occupying terminal areas led government officials to order all outbound flights canceled. Meanwhile, airlines have already preemptively diverted and canceled a number of flights scheduled to arrive at the airport on Monday.

Major airlines are waiving change fees for travel to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) after a huge protest caused the government to order a halt to all outbound commercial flights. By early Monday morning, the FlyerTalk forums reported that several inbound flights scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong had already been diverted or canceled outright as well, with ground transportation from the terminal said to be at a near standstill.

In a travel alert citing “public assembly” at HKG, American Airlines is allowing passengers to reschedule flights to and from the major air traffic hub without penalty. Meanwhile, passengers describe a chaotic scene on the ground with traffic and public transportation to and from the airport nearly impossible as thousands of protesters clog the terminals in response to violence related to a crackdown on anti-government civil unrest. In its travel advisory issued August 12, the world’s largest airline announced it would waive fees for flights scheduled through at least Thursday, but warned that the situation is changing rapidly.

“Door closed 5 minutes ago,” one FlyerTalker planning to depart Hong Kong this morning wrote. “We pushed back… before the tug was disconnected, the pilot announced that we were going nowhere. He said “Hong Kong is closed” (sure hope he meant just the airport, not the entire Hong Kong?). Apparently, the tug is going to remain connected and tow us to a remote stand for parking. Then buses will come to take us back to the terminal. Some other plane is waiting to use our gate. Looks like the pilots and/or airline operations realized how ridiculous that idea was… we didn’t even finish pushback…. plane is moving back to the gate to let us off.”

While some flights are still listed as departing for Hong Kong as scheduled, according to the FlyerTalk forums, dozens of HKG-bound flights have been canceled and, in a few instances, have even been re-routed to alternate airports. Airlines are urging passengers not to go to HKG and to check their flight status before heading to the airport for Hong Kong-bound itineraries.

The British tabloid newspaper, the Sun, reports that the thousands of protesters at the airport caused officials to not only suspend outbound flights, but also ordered ticket counters and check-in kiosks shuttered. According to the most recent reports, public transportation and a number of roads to and from the airport have likewise been closed to the public.

Have you successfully or unsuccessfully attempted to get to or from Hong Kong since government officials declared an emergency at the airport? The world’s largest expert travel community is sharing the very latest eyewitness accounts and the best advice on alternate travel arrangements in the FlyerTalk Forums right now.


[Featured Image: Twitter/@joshuawongcf]

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1 Comment

  1. HkCaGu

    August 12, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Flyertalk continues to get the headline wrong for events in Hong Kong. There’s a large assembly or demonstration in the airport terminal building, landside, but there is no “civil unrest”! After Sunday night’s massive police brutality when tear gas was deployed in unimaginable places and manner, the leaderless crowd felt like the airport is the last safe place where police can’t possibly launch tear gas. However, the authorities decided to cancel the entire evening worth of departures and ground stopped all East Asian arrivals. Many unequipped protesters left under the threat of dwindling passengers and emerging possibility of tear gas. There was no “civil unrest” at the airport.

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