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Hong Kong Airport Welcomes Transit Passengers Again

Inside the Hong Kong Airport terminal. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Albert Kuan)

In response to the low infection rate of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Airport is loosening its travel restrictions and resumed airport transit services on June 1.

The main travel restrictions, however, remain unchanged. Foreigners coming from overseas countries by plane are still banned from entering the city while non-Hong Kong residents arriving from Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan will be subject to a 14-day compulsory quarantine after entering Hong Kong, but could be refused entry if the passengers have been to any overseas countries in the 14-day prior to arrival.

Hong Kong-based airlines are expected to benefit from the policy. Meanwhile, the airport introduced new guidelines for transit passengers. The passengers are requested to take a temperature check upon arrival and will be given a sticker for identification purposes.

The transit passengers are requested to go to the boarding gates for their connecting flights immediately and are also reminded to comply with social distancing guidelines when boarding, keeping at least 1.5 meters from each other at all times in the terminal building. In addition, a designated dining area will be set up for transit passengers.

In the meantime, the airport frontline staff are also being protected by heightened measures. Personal protective equipment will be distributed to airport employees and COVID-19 tests and disinfection channels will be available.

According to Vivian Cheung, Executive Director of the Airport Authority, “On the basis of protecting health and safety of passengers and airport staff as our top priority, it is if paramount importance for HKIA as a major international hub to resume transfer/transit services.”

Since the pandemic outbreak, Hong Kong Airport has been striving to “maintain a safe and hygienic environment for all airport users and strengthening passengers’ confidence.” Earlier, the airport introduced a full-body disinfection booth and requested all departing passengers and airport staff wear a face mask.

The airport has put more effort into improving sanitary conditions, with frequently touched surfaces being cleaned every hour. The provisions of hand sanitizers have been doubled and autonomous cleaning robots are also being deployed. Also, body temperature screening has been implemented at the terminal and Intelligent Sterilization Robots are being used in public toilets as well as key operating areas.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the airport experienced a huge drop in passenger volume. Earlier, Hong Kong Airport revealed its passenger numbers in April was only 32,000, a decrease of 99.5% compared to last year and cargo dropped 14.2%. However, the demand for cargo export to North America remained strong during the month of April.

Pete Ainsley

Author

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