With the latest 14-day ban from the government of Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines has joined the small list of international airlines that have been slapped with the temporary penalty. The Hong Kong government cites a breach of COVID-19 rules as the reason, noting that one passenger arrived in Hong Kong (via Singapore Airlines) testing positive for the coronavirus, with three others failing to comply with pandemic control measures. As such, Singapore Airlines will be banned from flying passengers to Hong Kong until April 16th.
Breaking Hong Kong’s arrivals policy
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.
In this recent case involving Singapore Airlines, the South China Morning Post reports that the ban was implemented after 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.
A statement provided by a Singapore Airlines spokesperson was provided to Simple Flying:
“Singapore Airlines can confirm that it has been asked to suspend the daily passenger service from Singapore to Hong Kong from 3 April 2021 until 16 April 2021. The passenger service from Hong Kong to Singapore is not affected.
“This comes after one transit passenger who travelled on board SQ882, and had a negative pre-departure test result, subsequently tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong.
“Three other transit passengers also had negative pre-departure test results. However their test documents were subsequently found to not have fully met the regulatory requirements of the Hong Kong authorities.”
No Singapore Airlines flights to Hong Kong for two weeks
With the penalty set as a two-week flight ban, Singapore Airlines won’t be flying passengers from Singapore to Hong Kong until April 17th. This was confirmed through a search on the airline’s website booking engine.
After entering our origin (Singapore) and destination (Hong Kong), we can open up the calendar, which shows flight dates and pricing. Clearly missing are flights between now and April 16th, with the next available service taking place on April 17th.
As with past cases involving other airlines, the banned carrier is still able to transport passengers out of Hong Kong. This may or may not be profitable, depending on passenger demand for the single-direction route, as well as cargo demand. Going by the airline’s statement, it intends to continue operating flights for passengers flying from Hong Kong to Singapore.
The growing list of offending countries
A number of respectable international airlines have already been hit with the two-week flight ban. Here are some of the notable cases:
- Emirates was banned from January 9th to the 22nd.
- British Airways was banned from December 11th to the 25th.
- KLM was banned from December 4th to 17th.
- Air India was banned most recently from November 20th to December 3rd. Most shocking, however, was the fact that the airline had been banned four times prior – seemingly once per month from August through November.
It’s unfortunate that airlines have to pay the price for their passengers’ actions – even if the communication of such policies was made clear to everyone on flights into the territory. Singapore Airlines was far from the first airline handed such a penalty, and it will most likely not be the last.
Have you been affected by these airline bans by the Hong Kong government? Please share your experience with us in the comments.