Starting June 1st, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will be bracing itself for an inevitable increase in traffic as it resumes operations for transfer and transit passengers. The resumption follows a two-month ban on incoming travelers and comes with its fair share of preventive measures.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong’s (AA) new system shows that the resumption of services will undeniably lead to a new normal for the passenger experience.
Executive Director of AA’s Airport Operations, Vivian Cheung, explained the below in a press release:
“On the basis of protecting health and safety of passengers and airport staff as our top priority, it is of paramount importance for HKIA as a major international aviation hub to resume transfer/transit services.”
Newly implemented measures
In the same press release, AA explains that following the opening on June 1st, passengers and airport staff must wear face masks in the airport’s premises.
Additionally, all passengers, including inbound travelers, will undergo a body temperature screening as soon as they enter the airport.
Other measures include:
- Transfer/transit passengers must go directly to the boarding gates for their connecting flights immediately.
- Transfer/transit passengers will receive stickers at transfer points for identification purposes.
- Passengers have to keep a safe physical distance of at least 1.5m from each other when standing in queues.
- Alcohol-based hand rub dispensers and sanitizing floor mats are available at each arrival gate and throughout the entire terminal.
- There are protective screens put in place at service counters, including airline check-in counters and Customer Services Centres.
- Transfer/transit passengers may dine at designated areas.
Such measures will give passengers ease of mind should they find themselves traveling through the hub. But it is beyond doubt that worries will seep in as soon as traffic starts to pick up, and passengers congregate in numbers after each flight.
As such, the AA has guaranteed passengers that there will be a thorough cleaning of the boarding gate area and air bridge after every arriving flight.
In fact, HKIA implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures as soon as the corona-crisis began gaining momentum in the country, back in April. Earlier this month, HKIA also started utilizing cleaning robots and antimicrobial coating, stepping up its cleaning technology.
Protecting the health of passengers and airport staff is our top priority. Recently, we’ve trialled the “CLeanTech”, a full-body smart disinfection channel facility and pilot-tested an antimicrobial coating application. Know more from below. 👀#hkg #aviation #fightcovid19 pic.twitter.com/jDa4nDfAB2
— HKIA (@hkairport) April 30, 2020
For airport staff and inbound travelers
Airport staff will don personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as utilize sanitizers regularly to curb the spread. Staff also have to keep a safe distance from passengers at all times. Furthermore, airport staff will undergo COVID-19 tests by the Department of Health.
On the part of travelers entering Hong Kong, a quarantine period will still apply. Simple Flying reported last week that COVID-19 testing would take place at the Asia World-Expo for all arriving passengers. A mandatory 14-day quarantine follows this.
In April, HKIA reported a massive 99.5% drop in passengers compared to the previous year. As one of Asia’s major international hubs, the decline has certainly put a damper on the city-state’s economy.
Opening doors for HKIA is possibly the country’s attempt at boosting the economy. The same can be said for another significant hub in the region, Changi Airport in Singapore, as it also starts to allow transit passengers in on June 2nd.
On top of that, Hong Kong has been reporting significantly lower coronavirus numbers, thus allowing the government to ease up on restrictions.
Albeit geographically near the origin of the outbreak, Hong Kong has so far reported only 1,082 coronavirus cases and four deaths. According to the South China Morning Post, the nation recorded a 15-day streak of no local infections in May, although it broke yesterday after a citizen tested positive.
What do you think of HKIA’s new enhanced measures? Do you feel it is safe to start traveling soon? Let us know in the comments.