With the Hong Kong Government’s decision to relax the COVID-19 rules on flights that originate in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, Cathay Pacific says it will resume flights on May 8, 2021. In a statement today, Cathay Pacific says it will offer flights between London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) so that Hong Kong citizens and residents can return home.
The Hong Kong-based carrier says that it is laying on 17 flights during May to help Hongkongers who have been stranded in the United Kingdom return home. The authorities in Hong Kong banned all flights from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland on December 22, 2020.
The ban was because of the Kent variant
The move came after a super-virulent strain of the novel coronavirus (Kent B117) was detected in the British Isles. Hong Kong was the first Asian city to ban flights from the UK to stop the new strain from entering the densely packed financial hub.
The decision to allow flights that originate in the UK and Ireland to return to Hong Kong was made on Friday. It came in light of the excellent job the UK has done to vaccinate its citizens and the decline in the daily rate of infections.
21-day quarantine period
It is not all plain sailing yet, though, with Hongkongers stranded in the UK still needing to secure a hotel room in one of the specially designated hotels to comply with Hong Kong’s 21-day mandatory quarantine rule.
As well as the quarantine period, Hongkongers must also provide a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test certificate. The test must have been taken within 72 hours of the aircraft’s departure. After the 26th day of arrival in Hong Kong, all passengers must take another COVID-19 nucleic acid test at any Community Testing Centre (CTC).
Passengers will be allowed to transit through Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) if their itinerary is contained in a single booking. Transit passengers must also meet entry requirements at their final destination. All flight connections in Hong Kong must be completed within 24 hours.
In the intervening months following the flight ban, enterprising Hongkongers who could afford it circumnavigated the rules by flying from London to Dubai, where they quarantined for 21-days before flying on to Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000
To get stranded Hongkongers home, the Hong Kong authorities laid on two special repatriation flights with Cathay Pacific last month. However, the demand for tickets was so massive that Cathay Pacific’s website could not cope. For the 600 available tickets, those lucky enough to secure them paid HK$9,000 (US$1,160) for the cheapest one-way economy fare.
For the May London to Hong Kong flights, Cathay Pacific will be deploying one of its 14 Airbus A350-1000s with a three-class configuration with over 5,600 seats for sale during the special May flights.
Operation Dates in May:
8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30
Flight Number :
Departure & Arrival Times:
Depart London Heathrow Airport (LHR) from Terminal 2 at 12:20, arriving in Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Terminal 1 at 06:50 (Next Day)
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