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TORONTO — Citing Hong Kong’s “challenging business environment”, Hong Kong Airlines says it plans to suspend its flights to Vancouver in February 2020. The news comes amid reports that the Air Transport Licensing Authority has put Hong Kong Airlines on notice, saying that if it can’t raise more cash fast, it could lose its license.
Hong Kong Airlines’ other service cuts include Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh City effective Feb. 20, and Hong Kong – Tianjin effective Feb. 10. And last month the carrier announced that its Feb. 6 Hong Kong – L.A. flight would be the last on that route.
The cuts come as the airline focuses “on operating other priority routes under the challenging business environment caused by the ongoing social unrest in Hong Kong.”
The protests in the city have been going on for months. As reported in September, after the protests at Hong Kong International Airport and after the government withdrew the extradition bill, Canadian tour operators selling Hong Kong said they were cautiously optimistic that bookings to the city could get back on track. But the violent protests have continued with no end in sight.
Hong Kong Airlines says it will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust its operation “to respond to changing market demand.”
Bloomberg and other media report that the ATLA has told the carrier it must secure more funding or risk losing its operating license. The ATLA says it will reassess the situation by Dec. 7.
The last Hong Kong Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver (HX080), and the last Hong Kong Airlines flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong (HX081), are scheduled to operate Feb. 10, 2020.
The airline says that passengers holding confirmed bookings on flights to/from Vancouver after Feb. 10 can get a full refund, free change of travel date, free change to any destination operated by Hong Kong Airlines (fare and taxes difference may apply) or free transfer to other partner carriers to be arranged by Hong Kong Airlines, subject to seat availability.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers and will do our best to ensure that the arrangements fulfill the needs of all affected passengers,” says the airline in a statement on its website.
The carrier made headlines when it entered the Vancouver market in 2017 with aggressive introductory fares from $750 roundtrip in peak season, and dropping to as low as $500 in off-peak late summer season. Also in 2017, Hong Kong Airlines and WestJet signed a codeshare agreement, building on an existing interline agreement put in place earlier that year.
Hong Kong Airlines can be reached at 1-855-393-3880 or email email@example.com.