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Cathay plans to cancel flights as quarantine rules hit crew



Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. will make “significant” changes to its flight schedule as Hong Kong further tightens quarantine restrictions for aircrew, dealing another blow to a carrier already reeling as the city’s borders remain largely closed.
The airline is tentatively planning to cancel some passenger flights to and from the city through the first quarter of 2022, it said in a statement posted to its website, without elaborating. The move will further isolate the once bustling Asian financial hub, which is largely closed off from the world in an effort to eradicate any vestiges of Covid-19.
The notice came after the South China Morning Post reported that airlines in Hong Kong had been informed that crew working on non-China passenger flights had lost all quarantine-related exemptions.
A Cathay Pacific spokesperson told Bloomberg earlier Thursday that in light of the new measures, the airline would consolidate its passenger flight schedule for January and affected customers could opt for full ticket refunds.
“The further tightening of crew quarantine restrictions continues to constrain our ability to operate flights as planned,” the spokesperson said. “We are communicating with affected customers and will endeavor to make alternative flight arrangements for them.”
Hong Kong’s government told airlines of the latest changes to its rules before the measures went into effect at midnight, the SCMP reported, citing unidentified sources. The move comes after authorities on Tuesday mandated three-day hotel quarantines for air-cargo crew. Other changes include necessitating that non-mainland China flights to and from Hong Kong be operated by so-called “closed-loop” aircrew, who will be required to spend as many as two weeks in quarantine every time they land in the city, the SCMP said.
A Hong Kong government spokesperson didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment Thursday.
The Asian financial hub is imposing increasingly stringent border control measures as the highly transmissible omicron variant spurs record case counts globally.

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