Cathay Pacific is to relaunch its route between Hong Kong and London on Tuesday. Hong Kong banned such flights after discovering a new COVID-19 virus in the United Kingdom right before Christmas. For the time being, the airline’s Manchester route will remain suspended.
Borders worldwide were suddenly closed to the United Kingdom in mid-December after a new strain of the COVID-19 virus was detected in the country. The restrictions were intended to limit the spread of the more transmissible variant. Two weeks later, the rules are gradually being walked back by many countries.
Cathay Pacific returning to London
Cathay Pacific today revealed that it would resume flights to London on January 12th. The Hong Kong-based airline will fly passengers to London on January 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 21st, and 24th.
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While the airline is resuming flights to London, the same can’t be said about the return flight. Of course, the aircraft will need to return to Hong Kong. However, it won’t carry any passengers, just crew. This is as the Hong Kong Government continues to ban arrivals from the United Kingdom.
Cathay will operate CX251 to Heathrow on the dates mentioned above. An Airbus A350-1000 will depart from Hong Kong at 23:55. The aircraft is then scheduled to arrive at Heathrow Terminal 2 at 05:00 the next day. For the time being, the airline is extending flight cancellations on its route to Manchester. As previously reported, Cathay Pacific is providing free COVID-19 insurance for all passengers until February 28th.
On the resumption of flights, Kinto Chan, Cathay Pacific Regional General Manager Europe told Simple Flying,
“We are cognisant of the paramount importance that critical air link from Asia to the UK be maintained, especially under these trying times so that essential supplies can be transported and UK residents have a way to return home. As such, we will resume limited services from Hong Kong to London from 12 January.”
The Hong Kong travel ban
Hong Kong banned travel to the city by those who had visited the United Kingdom in the past 14 days from December 21st. According to FlightGlobal, the restriction applies to anybody who has been in the UK for more than two hours.
At the time, the move had prompted Cathay Pacific to cancel flights until January 10th initially. In addition to the travel ban, a week later, Hong Kong revealed that it would increase quarantine for those arriving from outside China to three weeks. This comes as some other countries such as the UK and Germany have dropped the quarantine requirement to ten days.
The city has also been implementing flight bans for airlines who have transported COVID-19 positive passengers. Before the general UK flight ban prompted by the new strain of the virus, British Airways had already been banned from flying to the city as four passengers had tested positive for COVID-19. This was in addition to a further passenger failing to follow requirements.
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