Hong Kong Extends Travel Ban and Bails out Cathay
Following the news and updates around the COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines were forced to suspend or reduce their daily operations. We have the latest information from airlines and hotels all around the world. As the pandemic started to slow down, especially in Europe, airlines are slowly rebuilding their schedules, putting out promotions, and most importantly – flying again. However, not all countries will be easing the restrictions. Hong Kong Health Secretary announced that the ban on non-resident arrivals would be extended by an additional three months.
Hong Kong Extends Visitor Travel Ban
Health Secretary of Hong Kong, Sophia Chan, announced on June 9, 2020, that Hong Kong will extend restrictions on visitors by another three months. Hong Kong initially implemented a travel ban on visitors on March 24, 2020, which has already been extended and was just about to expire this month. With this latest extension, the visitor travel ban will be in place until September 2020.
At the beginning of June, Hong Kong Airport started allowing transit passengers. Before that, the airport experienced an all-time low drop in passengers of 99.6%. There are some restrictions in place for all transit passengers to keep in mind. Passengers will not be able to connect to and from mainland China and the transit over eight hours is not allowed. Also, all passengers should be booked on one ticket the entire way through.
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Hong Kong Government Bails Out Cathay Pacific
The Hong Kong government will acquire shares and provide a loan to Cathay Pacific as a part of a recapitalization plan for the airline. Cathay Pacific majority owners are Swire Group with a 45% stake, Air China with 29.99%, and Qatar Airways with 10%. As part of the recapitalization process, the majority stakes in the airline will be reduced and the government will take a 6% share.
From the official press release:
“We are grateful to the HKSAR Government's capital support, which allows Cathay Pacific to maintain our operations and continue to contribute to Hong Kong's international aviation hub status. We are also grateful to our shareholders for their confidence in the long-term future of Cathay Pacific and in the ability of Cathay Pacific's management team to lead our airlines through what is the most challenging period in the Group's history.” Cathay Pacific Chairman Patrick Healy
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Cathay Pacific has cut passenger capacity 97%. The airline was also forced to cut executive pay and put a voluntary leave plan in place for employees.