For the second day in a row, protestors in Hong Kong clamoring for better civil rights have shut down Hong Kong’s main terminal building and forced airlines to cancel flights to the river delta city.
What are the details?
The city of Hong Kong is currently experiencing civil unrest, as citizens protest for democracy under Chinese leadership. This has lead to multiple counts of protests disrupting the economy and transport hubs, including Hong Kong’s International Airport.
Protestors have flooded the main building, blocking access to check-in desks and immigration in a peaceful protest. This has led the airport to cancel flights and urge the public to stay away.
“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.” – Hong Kong Airport Authority.
According to reports from Al Jazeera, protestors are continuing to arrive and plan to shut down the airport in a repeat of yesterday’s incident.
“There have been calls from the protesters to once again build up numbers and do what they did on Monday. We haven’t seen the numbers that we saw yesterday,” reported Rob McBride for Al Jazeera. “We are seeing as the afternoon goes on more and more protesters arriving,”
How are passengers affected?
According to regional newspaper, South China Morning Post, up to 150 arriving flights and 160 departing flights for Tuesday have been canceled. Those already at the airport will find themselves pushed back by protestors as they try to cross from the check-in area to the security and immigration desks,
Speaking to Time Magazine, one delayed passenger expressed their frustration.
“We’re supposed to be home right now,” said Sehem, a 23-year-old medical student trying to return to Europe. “We’ve been in the airport for more than 24 hours, we’re super tired, we just want to go see our families—and we have exams in ten days. We need to get home and study.”
Protestors are being increasingly belligerent (although non-violent) as police crackdowns continue to use near-lethal means to force peace across the city. What was supposed to be a simple three-day sit in for the protesters (and finish Sunday) has now escalated into a rolling-on protest that might see the airport closed for some time.
How are airlines affected?
Cathay Pacific, which uses Hong Kong airport as its main hub, has found itself in the crosshairs from protestors and Bejing alike. As many of the airline’s staff are local Hong Kong citizens, the airline has struggled to keep its own staff in line with its official stance.
“We resolutely support the Hong Kong government, the chief executive [and the police in their efforts to restore law and order,” Cathay Pacific’s parent organization, Swire Pacific, issued in a statement reported by The Financial Times “We condemn all illegal activities and violent behavior.”
The airline has already suspended two pilots and other support staff, and had to prepare a list of all cabin crew traveling to Chinese cities.
What do you think? Will Hong Kong airport reopen soon? Let us know in the comments.