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British Airways halts Hong Kong flights amid pilot quarantines



British Airways (BA) put flights to Hong Kong on hold until March after the imposition of strict quarantine rules by the Asian financial hub’s government saw airline crews forced to isolate in a makeshift camp.
The London-based carrier’s schedule shows no services to Hong Kong until the end of February. British Airways initially suspended flights there late last month, telling the BBC that it was doing so “while we review operational requirements for this route.”
Hong Kong has imposed some of the strictest quarantine rules as it targets zero Covid infections, and unlike most other destinations doesn’t have exemptions for air crew. That’s led to staff from airlines including BA and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, the territory’s own carrier, being compelled to isolate at a spartan government facility with no Wi-Fi and minimal facilities.
A British Airways spokesman said that it’s operating “a reduced and dynamic schedule” due to the pandemic and apologises to customers whose travel plans have been disrupted. Where flights are cancelled,
passengers will be contacted
to offer options including a full refund.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG unit Swiss is among other carriers that have adjusted their schedules due to the Hong Kong rules.
Cathay Pacific has faced resignation threats after a breach
of regulations saw more than 200 pilots and flight attendants quarantined, and prompted a requirement for crew to stay home for three days on returning from a trip.
The carrier has had to cancel some December services due to a lack of volunteers for a schedule involving three weeks of working with downtime spent in a hotel room, alternating with two weeks of home quarantine.
Swiss temporarily suspended flights, according to reports.
The airline actions are a repeat of those seen last year when Hong Kong included crews in a clampdown at the start of the pandemic. United Airlines Holdings Inc and American Airlines Group Inc were among carriers to halt some flying at the time.

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