Protests Shut Down Hong Kong Airport for Second Straight Day

by Daniel McCarthy
Protests Shut Down Hong Kong Airport for Second Straight Day

Protestors on Aug. 12 occupying Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: Caroline Sun / 

For a second day, protests at the Hong Kong International Airport have forced authorities to suspend all check-ins, resulting in cancellations of hundreds of flights at the world’s seventh busiest airport.

According to Reuters, flights at the airport were taking off earlier on Tuesday but after more and more protestors began occupying the departures and arrivals halls, causing some havoc for travelers trying to get through to security or immigration halls, the airport decided to halt all flights.

“Terminal operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, and all check-in processes have now been suspended. All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement,” the airport wrote in a statement on its website.

Cathay Pacific, one of the airlines most impacted by the closure, is telling its passengers to “postpone non-essential travel from Hong Kong” on both Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 and “not to proceed to the airport.” It is waiving all charges and fare differences of those ticket changes.

Other carriers impacted included American Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, and more. Most carriers affected by the closure are waiving fees — American Airlines is allowing anyone traveling or scheduled to travel through Hong Kong through Aug. 15 to change without fee, as is United Airlines. 

Travel advisories
Protests have been ongoing in Hong Kong since early June. The movement originally kicked off as a reaction to an extradition bill that would allow authorities to extradite people to mainland China and Taiwan.

Since the protests began, authorities in other countries have started to warn its citizens who are planning to travel to Hong Kong about the unrest.

The U.S. State Department issued a Level 2 warning on Aug. 7 to “exercise increased caution.”

The State Department said: “Most have been peaceful, but some have turned confrontational or resulted in violent clashes. The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighborhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies. These demonstrations, which can take place with little or no notice, are likely to continue.”

The Canadian Travel and Tourism Department updated its Hong Kong warning on Aug. 12, telling its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” because of the demonstrations.

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, travel to the city, a business travel stalwart, is being heavily impacted — and the number of visitor arrivals in the second half of June suffered a double-digit decline.

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