Hong Kong: Flights resume as airport authority implements access control and restricts protests

posted on 14th August 2019 by Justin Burns
Hong Kong: Flights resume as airport authority implements access control and restricts protests

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has implemented access control today to terminal buildings as it resumed operations following a night of chaos as protesters clashed with riot police.

The airport cancelled hundreds of flights yesterday as protesters took over the terminal buildings, blocking travellers from accessing flights and using luggage trolleys to build, but is aiming to run a full schedule of flights today.

Airport Authority (AA) Hong Kong has also obtained a temporary injunction banning protesters from entering certain areas of the airpor.

The AA said in a statement: “To maintain smooth operations of the terminal and normal flight movement operations, as well as to ensure the safety of passengers and airport staff, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) will  implement access control at the terminal buildings of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) starting from 1400hrs today (14 August).

“Only departure passengers with a valid air ticket or boarding pass for a flight in the next 24 hours and a valid travel document, or airport staff with relevant identification document will be allowed to enter the terminal buildings until further notice. Passengers are reminded to arrive at the airport three hours before their departure time for the relevant checks.

“Starting from 1400hrs, access control points will be set up at the departure kerbs of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, AsiaWorld-Expo-bound and city-bound platforms of Airport Express, south and north downramps connecting to the ground transportation centre, and the walkway connecting to the Regal Airport Hotel. Police and airport security staff will be on-site to assist relevant persons to enter the terminals.

“In view of the access control arrangements, airport- and AsiaWorld-Expo-bound Airport Express service will be adjusted to run at 25-minute intervals. Departing passengers should head to the airport by public transport, while other members of the public, including those who may want to accompany departure passengers or receiving arrival passengers at the airport should not travel to the airport unless absolutely necessary.

“The AA has liaised with various public transport operators to notify passengers on the access control arrangements. The AA will also notify business partners and stakeholders regarding the relevant arrangements.

“Starting from tomorrow (15 August) Car Park 1 and 4 will be closed. Drivers will have to use other car parks. The AA will also implement additional access control arrangements according to operational circumstances and make separate announcements about any such arrangements accordingly.

In addition, the AA has obtained an interim injunction to restrain persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of HKIA.

It added: “The interim injunction stipulates that persons are restrained from attending or participating in any demonstration or protest or public order event in the Airport other than in the area designated by the AA.

“The interim injunction expressly provides that nothing in the interim injunction shall be construed as authorising any demonstration, protest or public order event contrary to the Public Order Ordinance.

“Any person who neglects to abide by or neglects to follow the interim injunction order, or any person assists another in disobeying the interim injunction order may be held in contempt of court, and is liable to imprisonment or a fine. Enforcement proceedings may be taken to compel person to comply with the interim injunction order.

“The AA has published the interim injunction upon obtaining sealed copies of the interim injunction.

Cathay Pacific said today that it will be operating a full schedule of flights. It added: “With immediate effect, all charges and fare differences will be waived for certain ticket changes on bookings for travel scheduled between 12 and 14 August.

“In order to provide our customers in the coming days with as much flexibility as possible, we will also waive charges on certain ticket changes for passengers scheduled to travel on 15 and 16 August 2019.”

“Passengers whose flights were disrupted on 12 and 13 August have been rebooked onto new flights – email notifications have been sent with new flight rearrangements.”

Airport trade body ACI Asia-Pacific has expressed its “strong condemnation” on the recent disruptions to airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport which have “deprived passengers the right to travel”.

The trade body added: “Since July, a number of public protests were staged at Hong Kong International Airport. More recently, the protests on August 12 and 13 rendered significant disruptions to airport operations, including security risks and flight cancellations two days in a row.

“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Hong Kong International Airport and Airport Authority Hong Kong. The aviation industry is a close-knit community and together, we stand firm and united in bringing people together, ensuring the safety and security of the travelling public by offering a network of safe and secure airports.”

Anti-government protests in Hong Kong are now in their 10th week of protests which have come in objection to a proposed extradition bill, which has now been suspended, but have evolved into a more demanding pro-democracy movement.