Hong Kong grounds flights as protests swarm airport
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. were among long-haul carriers planning to resume normal service to Hong Kong as crowds of black-clad protesters who closed the airport began to thin out.
The U.K. carriers said services due to depart London on Monday night and take about 12 hours to fly to Hong Kong should operate according to schedule. Deutsche Lufthansa AG took a more cautious approach and said there will be no trips to the Chinese territory until Tuesday at the earliest.
Authorities at Chek Lap Kok airport said they intend to resume operations by 6 a.m. local time on Tuesday.
Here’s how long-haul carriers in Europe and the U.S. are responding to the situation:
- Virgin Atlantic scrapped a return service from Hong Kong on Monday but said it planned to operate its 9:50 p.m. flight from London Heathrow. Officials in Asia said people will be able to clear immigration and baggage reclaim, with protests focused on departure halls, according to the airline. Passengers should still check the website.
- British Airways canceled its two daily flights out of Hong Kong as the protests made it impossible to check in customers. Like Virgin, the carrier said it plans to operate Monday evening departures from Heathrow as normal, while saying the situation remains under review. The services are scheduled for 6:40 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
- Air France said a flight due to depart Hong Kong at 10:50 p.m. there on Monday won’t now leave until 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Other flights to and from the territory are due to operate as usual.
- Dutch sister company KLM said its single daily departure will leave for Hong Kong as normal at around 5 p.m.
- Lufthansa has taken a more cautious view, terminating its evening flights to Kong Kong from Frankfurt and Munich, both of which were due to depart at around 11 p.m. local time. Europe’s biggest airline said it’s aware that protesters are dispersing, and will review whether to resume services tomorrow.
- American Airlines Group Inc.’s flight from Hong Kong to Dallas departed as scheduled Monday. A flight to Los Angeles was canceled. The carrier expects service to operate normally on Tuesday, but it’s monitoring the situation closely.
--With assistance from Ania Nussbaum and Mary Schlangenstein