QANTAS: Flights to Hong Kong resume from January 2022 despite threat of testing for Chinese arrivals
With China opening its borders for in and out-bound travel from January 8 2022, and other countries including the USA, Italy, Japan and others imposing testing regimes on arriving passengers from China, Qantas is still proceeding with its scheduled flights to Hong Kong.
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Qantas is relaunching flights to Hong Kong
The Sydney flights (QF127/QF128) start on January 30, three flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) then from February 27, they become daily. Melbourne daily flights (QF29/QF30) begin on March 26. Airbus A330s will service both routes, with 28 Business Suites plus 243 economy seats, but no premium economy cabin.
Cathay Pacific Expands Flights
Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific offers two flights per day from Sydney and Melbourne using Airbus A350s, with business premium economy and economy cabins. Cathay Pacific is rebuilding its network, returning aircraft from deep storage in near Alice Springs in Australia. It is aiming for 70% of pre-pandemic passenger capacity by the end of 2023 and 100% by the end of 2024.
Qantas customer Hong Kong Lounge access
Qantas has permanently closed its fabulous Hong Kong lounge. Qantas Club members and other eligible frequent flyers will be directed to Cathay Pacific’s lounges. If Hong Kong airport persists with its pandemic split transit and domestic travel to China channel system, only some lounges will be available to Qantas customers.
Hong Kong airport is currently split into two zones, one for passengers flying to mainland China and the other for international travellers. Therefore, not all of Cathay Pacific’s lounges are available to all passengers. This will probably change when travel between Hong Kong and mainland China resumes in January 2023. Hong Kong no longer requires inbound travellers to take a PCR test as of December 29, 2022, but rapid testing (RAT) within 24 hours of departure or a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival is required.
Well, I did predict this would happen soon, and it looks like they left it until the beginning of 2023 to make the announcements.
Restrictions and testing of international passengers departing from China is rapidly changing. The USA, Italy, Japan and some other European countries have already instituted testing regimes after more than 50% of arrivals on one flight to Italy were found to be COVID-19 positive.
It’s expected that many countries will adopt a similar regime, and I am betting that Australia will be one of them before long, as soon as it has decided to get its hotel quarantine and/or its isolation monitoring system back off the ground.
If I were planning a trip to China in 2023, I would currently allow for possible isolation when returning to Australia if I tested positive.