From our correspondent Alisa Chan, here’s a report on how airlines are currently handling the coronavirus situation in China, including Hong Kong and Macau.
A novel coronavirus has been detected in the city of Wuhan (People`s Republic of China) and the number of infected individuals has increased significantly over the past few weeks.
Status on how airlines are handling the coronavirus in and out of Hong Kong and China
- Airlines in Europe, Asia, and North America are temporarily suspending flights to and from China, including Hong Kong and Macau.
- Airlines which are still operating flights to and from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, are adopting a series of measures due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific announced it will no longer offer hot towels, pillows, blankets, and magazines to passengers on Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Cathay Dragon flights to and from mainland China.
- Face masks and hand sanitizers are in short supply in Hong Kong and across Asia. airlines in Hong Kong are currently unable to provide face masks and hand sanitizer to all operating crew.
- The Hong Kong Airport Authority is not performing temperature scans at boarding gates.
Hong Kong Airlines under pressure to suspend flights to mainland China
Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Cathay Dragon together with Hong Kong Express, are under renewed pressure from its staff to suspend flights to mainland China.
Cathay Dragon announced on 1st Feb, it would be suspending flights to the mainland cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Sanya and Haikou on February 2 and 3.
Cathay’s cabin crew has warned they would strike unless Cathay Pacific Group stopped operating all flights to the mainland.
Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendant Union
Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendant Union (CXFAU) is currently proposing Survey on Actions for Joint-Union Movement Fighting.
Apart from the above, CXFAU recommended the following:
- stop serving bread rolls and any other food that is not properly sealed/covered.
- suspend pre-poured drink service.
- allow cabin crews to collect trash/used cups with plastic bags for the whole flight.
- removing liquid waste disposal jugs.
Hong Kong’s airlines’ handling of the coronavirus
In comparison to other airlines, Hong Kong airlines are definitely not adopting enough preventative measures against the coronavirus.
Thai Airways’ aircraft, including the cockpit, will undergo a 45-minute disinfection period after returning from mainland China. Deep cleaning will also be performed on passenger seats, pockets, and inflight entertainment systems.
China Flight options
Many airlines have offered waivers on change fees or the option to cancel for credit on a future flight. Travelers with upcoming flights to China should check and look for advisories posted on the carriers’ websites. That includes flights to Hong Kong and Macau.
Featured Image: A beautiful Cathay Pacific B777-300 aerial shot. Photo: Cathay Pacific.