HONG KONG: Airport No Longer Split into Travel Zones
Hong Kong International Airport will no longer be divided into separate “green” and “orange” travel zones following the reopening of Chinese borders to the rest of the world s of Sunday, January 8. The airport was previously split into two zones in November 2021 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among inbound travellers.
The ‘green zone,’ from Gates 1 to 24, was reserved for mainland-bound travellers and flights. The ‘orange zone,’ from Gates 25 through 71, was for travellers and flights not bound for the mainland.
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Cathay Pacific Lounge Access Restored
The revocation of the travel zones will allow Cathay Pacific to restore full access to its Hong Kong lounges which were also divided according to the zones and their location. The Wing First lounge was reserved for passengers departing Hong Kong or flying to mainland China, while The Pier Business lounge was for those in transit.
Increased Flights from Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific, reduced to a shadow of its former self during the pandemic, plans to significantly increase its flights into mainland China in the coming week, planning 61 return flights per week between Hong Kong and 13 mainland Chinese cities. The airline aims to operate over 100 return flights per week by March 2023.
This is welcome news for those who like to transit via Hong Kong on their way between Europe and Australia and for employees of Cathay Pacific. However, expect the same teething problems that have occurred elsewhere in the world when COVID minimisation strategies have been abandoned in favour of the so-called ‘living with’ COVID strategy, which inevitably leads to increased deaths and increased freedoms.
Expect hundreds of pilots, air and cabin crew, and airport staff, including baggage handlers, air traffic controllers and aircraft engineers, to call in sick, thus causing chaos across airline schedules and airport operations. Expect delays, cancellations, baggage loss, and customer anger – my prediction.
Let’s hope I’m wrong and Cathay Pacific has learnt from other airlines’ mistakes.