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Hong Kong Government Offers Financial Help to Aviation Industry

Cathay’s A350-1000 at Washington Dulles International Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

As a result of the coronavirus crisis around the globe, travel demand has plummeted to a new low. Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), a transportation hub in Asia, recorded a total number of 228 arrival passengers on April 12 and only eight foreign visitors among them.

In response to the low demand, the airport has closed one of its runways and is operating using a single runway. In the meantime, non-Hong Kong residents are not being allowed to transit at Hong Kong Airport. The policy also puts Hong Kong-based carriers to the edge of a catastrophe.

Earlier, the Hong Kong Government rolled out a one billion ($128 million USD) relief package for the aviation industry. According to HKIA’s website, the airlines will take a 40 percent reduction of passenger aircraft landing fees for four months and have a full waiver for five months on parking for idle passenger aircraft. Also, the airport retail tenants and airport staff stand to benefit from the package as well.

With no end in sight for the pandemic to subside, the Hong Kong government does not encourage its citizens to travel abroad. Recently, the government has introduced another $256 million USD bailout package to save the aviation and related industry.

The Airport Authority (AA) will purchase around 500,000 air tickets in advance from the four Hong Kong-based airlines. When the pandemic is over, the tickets will be given away as a gift through a marketing campaign to global visitors and Hong Kong residents.

Also, AA allowed the aviation support services operators at Hong Kong International Airport to sell their ground services equipment (GSE) to AA. Meanwhile, starting in April, the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Directors of the Airport will take a voluntary pay cut of 20 percent for six months.

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