Hong Kong Suspends Absurd Flight Ban Policy

Hong Kong Suspends Absurd Flight Ban Policy

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For well over two years now, Hong Kong has imposed among the strictest travel measures of anywhere in the world. Not only has Hong Kong had a mandatory quarantine for travelers (in some cases of up to 21 days), but there has also been a bizarre system of punishing airlines that import coronavirus cases. Well, that ridiculous system is finally coming to an end… for now.

Hong Kong’s system for punishing airlines

Since the start of the pandemic, Hong Kong has had a policy intended to punish airlines that bring passengers to Hong Kong with coronavirus. The way this works, if a flight brings over five people to Hong Kong who end up testing positive for coronavirus, the airline will be suspended from operating that route for a period of time.

Initially the bans lasted for two weeks, while more recently the bans have lasted for one week. This year alone, over 100 bans have been issued.

This policy is so beyond ridiculous and irrational:

  • Airlines simply enforce the testing requirements of the origin and destination, so it’s not like airlines are at fault for the number of people on a flight who arrive with coronavirus
  • Hong Kong’s policies (including this one) have created so much uncertainty for airlines that many airlines have just suspended service to Hong Kong, given the complexity involved
  • This policy created endless headaches for travelers, who may have been booked on a flight, but then had it canceled due to these bans, forcing them to scramble last minute to rearrange flights, rebook their quarantine accommodation, etc.
Hong Kong has had a ridiculous flight ban policy

The flight ban policy is finally being suspended

The government of Hong Kong has finally suspended its flight ban policy effective immediately. As the government described the decision:

“The social cost caused by the ‘circuit breaker mechanism’ is quite large, and it also brings unnecessary trouble to these international students and their families.”

For now this is just being labeled as a suspension rather than a permanent policy change, so we’ll see if it maybe returns in the future.

It’s of course great to see this, as it’s a step in the right direction. There was simply no basis for this policy, and it was entirely irrational. For that matter, several policies are slowly moving in the right direction, like Hong Kong having ended its transit ban, Hong Kong having ended its visitor ban, etc.

However, even with these changes, Hong Kong has a long way to go before there’s any sort of a travel recovery to a pre-pandemic norm.

Hong Kong continues to require a minimum of a one week quarantine in a facility in order to enter, and that’s going to be a deal-breaker for a vast majority of travelers. While the government claims it wants to take the steps “necessary for social and economic recovery,” there’s only one way to do that, yet that doesn’t seem to be on the table.

I’d sure love to visit Hong Kong again!

Bottom line

Hong Kong has suspended its policy of banning airlines that import coronavirus cases. It’s good to see this change, as that was probably the single most baseless travel restriction in place in the entire world.

While Hong Kong is making all kinds of minor positive adjustments when it comes to travel, the one week quarantine for visitors is a deal-breaker. I love Hong Kong, and I sure hope that policy changes sooner rather than later.

What do you make of Hong Kong ending its flight ban policy?

Conversations (33)
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  1. Screwchina Guest

    And the phobics are the rest of the world... Aha, no hate speech

  2. Guri S Guest

    No need to go to HKG anymore,

    They killed their own economy and I am not going to a Chinese city where I can get arrested and tried for absurd reasons.

  3. HkCaGu Guest

    These suspensions were designed to punish countries with fake COVID tests. Then Omicron came.

  4. iamhere Guest

    What khati mentions about there being a lot of non-pandemic reasons behind this policy is absolutely true. This means that flight prices to Hong Kong should drop significantly.

  5. Earl Elms Guest

    Does this mean that we can transit Hong Kong on Cathay?

  6. Steven E Guest

    Having just flown through HKG ( in transit) for BKK I can attest to the fact that it was ridiculous even with transiting- security was closed on arrival and we had to wait until they rocked up for work at 6am - the airport was virtually closed with nothing open and no more than a dozen people waiting for the connection flight - I counted over 40 CX aircraft just “wrapped up “

  7. Brett Guest

    HongKong is dead thanks to the CCP they have killed off its statue as a financial hub and tourism centre with there mainland China laws no such thing as freedom of anything ? ever again why would anyone want to visit anymore locked behind the Great fire Wall of China

  8. Fed UP Guest

    Another nail in the coffin for Hong Kong... the mainland party intended to ruin the city , to make way for other Chinese cities to be more prominent.

    At the 25 year mark, the PRC is tightening the screws on Hong Kong....

    One of the world's great cities is being reduced to mush, they want total control of the people and they are winning...

  9. Ian End Guest

    Everyone I know in HK is either leaving or has already left. It's a shell of its former self, and before long it will be just another dire, polluted Chinese city.

  10. MC Guest

    It takes 3-4 days to visit majority of tourist attractions in HK, yet there's a week quarantine. It doesn't make much sense to visitors, does it?

  11. Poorhkg Guest

    Just go to Singapore. HKG is trash and people are escaping. The people in Singapore take pity on HKG

  12. John T Guest

    Does Cathay Pacific require a negative covid test to board a flight even if you are connecting via HKG?

    1. ernestnywang Member

      Not anymore. This requirement was taken away a month ago.

    2. Steven E Guest

      It was a requirement for us to have been fully Vaxed before being accepted for travel on CX from Sydney in case we weren’t able to transit ? ( very confusing ) flight delayed/ cancelled
      I wouldn’t do that again as it was a little stressful and inconvenient- at least biz class was empty on both flights

  13. Bruce Guest

    Greetings from China Mainland. Hope one day I can travel freely overseas.

  14. stogieguy7 Diamond

    Sadly, HK will never be what it was - a process that started with the foolish surrender of the colony to the communists in 1997.

    1. Fed UP Guest

      probably correct... The British should have given back the New Territories and kept the rest....

  15. John Guest

    Oh, joy! Now we get to fly to a second tier Chinese city that was formerly a major world city. Meanwhile, Singapore is laughing its arse off all the way to the bank....

    1. J Lee Guest

      Not necessarily. As a Singaporean, I still prefer Hong Kong and I beleive HK still has a competitive edge over us due to China. We still see HK as a strong competitor as it will bounce back quick and thrive.

    2. mOjO jOjO Guest

      Move to HK then. Don't let the door hit you on the way out,

    3. Skdxb Member

      Hahahahahaha!!!! Well said
      M0J0

    4. Ian End Guest

      Not with the national security law in place it won't. No way I'd risk living in HKz falling foul of some bureaucrat, and being hauled off to the mainland for my life sentence.

      Always so happy to see China screwing itself, long may it continue.

  16. Belinda Guest

    They look stupid having all these petty tyrant things still happening.

    1. Ethan Guest

      Yeah, it's not like HKers haven't got COVID already - Beyond pleasing Winnie the Xi, not seeing how this is a rational policy. (If you can still argue some for mainland Chna.

  17. shoeguy Guest

    HKG's status as a global air hub and connecting point is unlikely to ever return to 2018 levels. HKG will remain a hub of finance, but not to the degree it was before.

    1. JWags Guest

      Not if China has its way. They want that all to go to Shanghai. The pressure on HK's financial and business sector will continue.

  18. khatl Guest

    I think there are a lot of non pandemic reasons that travel won't be returning to 2018 and prior levels in HK!

    1. J Lee Guest

      Give it a year and HK will be booming more than ever at least with Asian tourists who have the big bucks to spend.

    2. JWags Guest

      More than ever? No. Chinese tourists that used to be a HK staple have tailed off heavily. I have retail partners in HK who used to do huge Chinese tourist business and that business was down 60-70% even before COVID.

      I don't think HK will be dead for tourism, but acting like it will bounce back as strong as ever is just silly. CCP policy and action as much as COVID

    3. AB Guest

      J Lee is working for the man. These are not the words of a Singaporean.

    4. John Guest

      J. Lee is right about thing: even dead bodies have to bounce once when they hit the floor! LOL
      And a Singaporean praising HK?? That's as real as a South Korean praising North Korea.

  19. Azhar Guest

    No doubt covid19 have changed view of whole world looking at Travels. But we have to move on. It's the only way we can win over.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

khatl Guest

I think there are a lot of non pandemic reasons that travel won't be returning to 2018 and prior levels in HK!

3
Bruce Guest

Greetings from China Mainland. Hope one day I can travel freely overseas.

2
John Guest

Oh, joy! Now we get to fly to a second tier Chinese city that was formerly a major world city. Meanwhile, Singapore is laughing its arse off all the way to the bank....

2
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