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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Airlines to arrange return flights for Hongkongers stuck in Japan due to flight restriction

Airlines to arrange return flights for Hongkongers stuck in Japan due to flight restriction

Under the impact of the Japanese government's flight restriction, Hong Kong Airlines announced Wednesday that it has arranged special flights to assist passengers already in Sapporo and Okinawa in return to Hong Kong.
The company has arranged four flights from Sapporo (December 30 and 31, January 1 and 4) and five flights from Okinawa (December 30 to January 3) for passengers to choose to return to Hong Kong.

It added that the daily services to Sapporo and Okinawa will be cancelled from Friday until further notice.

Passengers who have booked tickets to both destinations from December 30 onwards will receive a full refund.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific said the company is "discussing measures to cope with the situation", stating further arrangements for flights will be announced on Thursday.

"We received information from multiple airlines that they may arrange planes to pick up the passengers whose return trip will depart on or after December 30, " said Yuen Chun-ning, the executive director of a local major travel agency WWPKG earlier on Wednesday.

"However, two flights routed to Hokkaido from Hong Kong scheduled today have been cancelled in case the passengers will be stuck in Japan," he added.

"I believe that airlines are now facing a shortage of capacity," said Fanny Yeung Shuk-fan, Executive Director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong.

"They are unable to arrange sufficient flights [to fly back to Hong Kong] from Tokyo, Osaka or other cities, especially during the festival season."

Several passengers at Hong Kong International Airport were informed that their flight returning to Hong Kong will be cancelled or changed.

"I just received alerts for flight changing yesterday that I have to return from Hokkaido via Taiwan," said a local male traveller Wong, "my route will be affected a lot, and it is no doubt a strike to break the mood for the journey."

Another passenger Poon said his return trip from Okinawa to Hong Kong, which used to be a direct route, was changed to depart from Tokyo.

The Japanese government announced yesterday that direct flights from China, Hong Kong, and Macau will be accepted only at Narita, Haneda, Kansai International and Chubu airports to avoid the potentially increasing number of inbound Covid infections from China.

Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung said Wednesday he was "greatly disappointed by Japanese authorities' hasty decision during the peak tourist season".

"I hope Japan could consider withdrawing the decision of limiting flights," added.

The department said it had contacted the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong to "solemnly request" a reversal of the decision -- which takes effect from Friday.
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