One thing that could spoil the holiday of thousands

Top News | Sophie Hui 3 Dec 2019

Tens of thousands of passengers would be affected if HK Airlines is grounded, says a lawmaker.

Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the impact would be extensive, affecting tens of thousands as there may not be enough seats to accommodate affected passengers.

Yiu said many airlines have reduced the number of flights due to the social unrest so there are fewer seats than usual, especially during the upcoming Christmas and Lunar New Year holidays.

"We can only hope there will be additional flights," he said.

Yiu said if the government suspends the company's license, it has to ask the airline to fulfill its responsibilities and handle the aftermath.

"[The government] should ask HK Airlines to organize support measures to at least ensure passengers depart as scheduled. If that cannot be done, it has the responsibility to arrange flights with other airlines," Yiu said.

He said a license suspension or revocation would have a greater impact on passengers bound for Southeast Asia and the mainland, while many travel agencies have agreements with other airlines for flights to Japan.

Yiu said passengers may not get compensation as many insurance plans do not cover the shutdown of an airline.

Travel Industry Council executive director Alice Chan Cheung Lok-yee said some agencies are trying to help tour members change their flights to other airlines, but they may not be able to do so as seats are limited.

Despite the airline having financial trouble for some time, Chan said some people still fly with it because of the attractive fares.

Some passengers who were flying out with the airline yesterday were worried that their return trip will be affected.

"I am worried I will need to buy one more ticket," a passenger surnamed Chow said at the airport.

Another passenger, surnamed Chan, hoped the government will provide assistance if HK Airlines closes down.

More than 1,000 people who claimed they have purchased tickets with the airline have opened groups on Telegram to discuss further actions. Some said they are flying on Saturday.

The Consumer Council said it is keeping an eye on the latest development and will remain in close communication with relevant departments.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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