Hong Kong Cancels All Flights For The Day Over Protests

Hong Kong Cancels All Flights For The Day Over Protests
Anti-government protests cause cancellation of all flights on August 12, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The HKG airport authority grounded all outbound flights for August 12, 2019

OT Staff
August 12 , 2019
02 Min Read

As the country’s anti-government protests enters its tenth week, Chek Lap Kok has cancelled all of its departing and arriving flights for Monday, August 12. "Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today”, the airport authority announced in a statement this afternoon. The move came after thousands of pro-democracy protestors, clad in black t-shirts and anti-dust masks, flooded the airport and disrupted operations. 

The crowd has caused congestion on the route leading up to the airport, car parks are full, and members of the public have been advised against travelling to the airport. On a larger scale, here’s what we know so far:

  • The airport’s bus, train and taxi exits are crowded, as citizens and travellers are trying to leave the premises.
  • Protestors have filled both arrival and departure halls, blocking passengers from security checkpoints. Transit between halls is either blocked, or very slow. Crowds are thinning due to the fear of police action.
  • Anti-government messaging has been plastered on the airport walls. Protestors also handed out flyers in several languages to incoming passengers in an attempt to raise international awareness. “Please forgive us for the ‘unexpected’ Hong Kong,” said the English leaflets, according to Reuters. “You’ve arrived in a broken, torn-apart city, not the one you have once pictured. Yet for this Hong Kong, we fight”.
  • Police have used crowd control weapons against the protestors, with tear gas being employed in at least two mass transit stations. Demonstrations seem to have escalated after a young woman, believed to be a volunteer medic, was hit by a projectile in the eye on Sunday.
  • Australia, Singapore, Japan, Ireland, Canada and the USA have issued travel warnings for citizens visiting Hong Kong. Since the demonstrations have been largely peaceful with only a few incidences of violence, a ‘high degree of caution’ has been advised since the situation could change at a moment’s notice.

Hong Kong Airport is one of the busiest in the world, and a critical transit point for Asian flights. According to its website, it served over 74 million passengers last year. 

The demonstrations began as peaceful rallies in June against proposed legislation that would allow the extradition of fugitives into mainland China. Despite the protests and travel warnings, the Hong Kong Tourism Commission confirmed that the city is open to travellers. The "vast majority of people taking part in processions do so in a peaceful and orderly manner," said Jeanne Tam, from the Tourism Commission in a statement. "Processions only affect certain parts of the city for a defined period of time..." she added.

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