Air Canada Gets Two Week Ban On Vancouver Hong Kong Route

Air Canada is banned from flying passengers into Hong Kong for two weeks. The sudden move is due to the fact that Hong Kong authorities had detected a case coming in from an October 13th flight from Vancouver in addition to one passenger failing to comply with certain requirements. The airline has canceled a number of flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong as a result.

Air Canada serves Hong Kong from both Vancouver and Toronto. Photo: Air Canada

Which Air Canada flights are canceled?

It appears that it’s just Air Canada’s passenger service from Vancouver to Hong Kong. This suspension will last until October 29th. As a result, Global News reports that Air Canada is canceling the following scheduled services from Vancouver to Hong Kong:

  • October 16th
  • October 23rd
  • October 26th
  • October 29th

However, the airline confirms that its flights from Toronto are not affected by the suspension:

“Air Canada’s Toronto-Hong Kong passenger flights and Vancouver-Hong Kong cargo flights are not affected and will continue to operate as scheduled…Customers are also eligible for a refund of the remaining value of their tickets if we are unable to rebook them on a new flight departing within three hours of their original departure time,” -Air Canada via CTV News

Air Canada service
Air Canada had been operating its Vancouver-Hong Kong service via Seoul. Photo:

Remaining vigilant on incoming cases

Air Canada is now banned from flying passengers from Vancouver to Hong Kong for two weeks due to a case detected onboard an incoming flight. According to Global News, authorities also stated that one passenger on the flight had also “failed to comply with the requirements specified under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation.” The specific requirement was not made public.

Hong Kong has had a strict policy when it comes to suspending foreign airline operations when cases are detected. Air Canada is far from the first to face this penalty. Other cases include, but are not limited to the following:

  • British Airways in December of 2020: In this case, four passengers were found to be infected with COVID-19 on arrival from a BA flight, and another person failed to comply with requirements.
  • KLM, also in December 2020: Again, this suspension occurred because a passenger “could not comply with the requirements specified.” 
  • Singapore Airlines in April 2021, when one passenger on a Singapore Airlines flight arriving in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus. Additionally, three passengers failed to comply with pandemic control measures.

As noted in previous articles on the subject, the government reserves the right to block a route for 14 days under specific conditions. According to CNN, two conditions are as follows:

  • If a passenger onboard an aircraft carrying COVID-19 fails to comply with pandemic control measures.
  • When an airline carries more than five COVID-19-positive passengers.
Hong Kong authorities have banned numerous airlines due to detected cases. Photo: Mk2010 via Wikimedia Commons 

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Breakthrough cases

Air passengers are now required to be vaccinated to fly. Despite this, cases can still take place. These are known as ‘breakthrough cases.’ According to the CDC, vaccine breakthrough cases are expected and happen from time to time.

“No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness … However, there is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick.”

The CDC adds that the risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated.

Although breakthrough cases take place occasionally, Hong Kong is sticking to its two-week suspension policy, which is undoubtedly a considerable headache for airlines despite all of their efforts to prevent COVID-positive passengers from stepping aboard.

Have you been affected by this suspension? Let us know in the comments.