British Airways has cancelled outbound passenger flights from London Heathrow to Hong Kong until Friday 18 December 2020.
BA will continue to send aircraft to Hong Kong with cargo only. Inbound passenger flights from Hong Kong to London Heathrow will operate as normal.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, BA has been banned by local authorities from operating passenger flights to Hong until Friday 25 December.
This is after it was found that four passengers who travelled on a BA flight to Hong Kong on Tuesday had COVID-19. Another passenger’s documents were not checked properly by the airline.
Whilst BA has been banned from flying to passengers to Hong Kong for two weeks and flights have been taken off sale until 25 December, at the time of publication the airline has only cancelled flights to Hong Kong up to Friday 18 December. This suggests that BA is seeking an alleviation.
Passengers who are due to fly on BA to Hong Kong up to 18 December can rebook on to Cathay Pacific flights from London Heathrow to Hong Kong.
Passengers can also choose to fly on an alternative BA service to Hong Kong up to 15 January 2021. Full refunds are also available for passengers whose flights have been cancelled.
Like many countries in Asia, there are strict rules in Hong Kong to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A number of other airlines including Emirates and KLM are reported to have received similar sanctions for flying passengers who have COVID-19 to Hong Kong.
This move places accountability on airlines at a considerable financial cost for ensuring passengers they carry do not have COVID-19. It does point to the continuation of extremely strict testing regimes and passenger disclosure obligations as border restrictions are relaxed.
Update December 2020:
Following a decision by the Hong Kong SAR Government to ban flights from the UK to Hong Kong both British Airways and Cathay Pacific have suspended flights between London Heathrow and Hong Kong until early January 2021.