Hong Kong curbs keep international travellers away

Hong Kong curbs keep international travellers away

HONG KONG: Cathay Pacific said on Thursday it will slash passenger flights into Hong Kong next month, as the city's strict travel curbs keep international travellers away at a time when rivals are seeing their prospects improve.

Hong Kong has maintained some of the world's harshest quarantine precautions and travel restrictions during the epidemic, which has kept infections low but has also ensured that Asia's World City has been cut off for the past 20 months.

Normalisation of travel with the mainland must come before any reopening to the rest of the world, as the city's fortunes are tied to China's strict COVID 19 strategy.

On Thursday, Cathay announced it was cancelling a number of flights to Hong Kong for December due to operational restrictions that remain in place As the peak holiday season approaches, the airline will convert around one-third of flights bound for Hong Kong to handle cargo, according to the South China Morning PostChina Morning Post. The paper added that there would be no outbound flights for now, with about 620 scheduled in December.

Like most international airlines, Cathay has been hammered by the coronaviruses, which has wiped out much of international travel.

It is especially vulnerable because it has no domestic market to fall back on and is based in an international finance hub that has embraced mainland China's zero-COVID 19 plan.