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Hong Kong Covid restrictions continue to hit air cargo capacity

PLANS to tighten Hong Kong Covid restrictions are expected to affect cargo capacity significantly, reports London's Loadstar

26 January 2021 - 19:00
PLANS to tighten Hong Kong Covid restrictions are expected to affect cargo capacity significantly, reports London's Loadstar.

The Hong Kong Government is looking to implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine for airline crews, including those on passenger and freighter aircraft returning from an international layover.



The Covid crisis has increased gradually in Hong Kong, with 70 new cases registered in one day, seven of which were of foreign origin.



FedEx's pilot union, Air Line Pilots Association, asked management to suspend Hong Kong operations due to what they feel were unacceptable conditions for pilots in quarantine in public hospitals.



The new quarantine mandate is expected to hit Cathay Pacific the hardest, with severe repercussions for its long-haul network.



'We are regularly in discussion with the government on a range of quarantine-related issues, given they are amended and updated regularly. At this point, we have nothing to share regarding any future changes, which I see are being speculated in the media. Our freighters continue to operate as scheduled, and we are moving into the pre-CNY [Chinese New Year] rush,' said Cathay cargo chief Tom Owen.



A freighter airline source declared the weakest sector was Hong Kong-Europe despite the air freight market being extremely busy in all directions.



Flexport vice-president Neel Shal stated how harrowing the ordeal will be for the market.



'This will definitely be a challenge for the market. Cathay is the major player in the South China market. If its schedule is disrupted it will certainly exacerbate an already tight capacity situation, and one could expect rates to spike as a result,' said Mr Shal.



'Right now we don't have any visibility on how long this policy might remain in place, so we can't comment on the market impact beyond the next few weeks,' said Mr Shal.


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