HK airport back in business after Monday’s abrupt closure

Operations have resumed at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) early Tuesday morning, a day after a massive pro-democracy protest there forced the shutdown of the travel hub, according to an AFP report.

Signalling a return of normalcy, check-ins at the departures hall were in progress and information boards showed several flights were boarding soon or about to depart.

A mass protest led to the forced shutdown of HKIA on Monday evening

The sudden shutdown of the busy international transport hub came after thousands of demonstrators staged a peaceful sit-in protest at the airport, said the AFP report, adding that the rally has enraged Beijing, which likened some of the violent protests to “terrorism”.

While only a few demonstrators remain in the airport, protestors have said they plan to resume their efforts later that day.

A South China Morning Post report claimed that Monday’s protest left hundreds of passengers stranded at HKIA. The Hong Kong Airport Authority moved to cancel all flights after 18:00 local time yesterday due to the protest, affecting about 180 outbound flights and 45 inbound flights. The lack of information from airlines meant that many passengers arrived at the airport clueless about the cancellations.

Affected Asian airlines included Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Scoot, as well as the Philippines’ Cebu Pacific and Malaysia Airlines. They were forced to re-route or turn their flights back to their country of origin.

Yesterday, HK Express issued a travel advisory on the airport disruption and warned of some cancelled flights between August 12 and 13.

The airport closure was the latest in Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-government protests, which show no signs of abating more than two months after they were sparked by a controversial extradition bill but has since morphed into wider resistance against encroaching control from Beijing.

Although Hong Kong tourism authorities insist it is safe to travel to the city and many attractions remain open, the prolonged protests have since drawn travel advisories from the government of Singapore, the US and Canada, with travellers advised to exercise caution and to avoid areas affected by protest rallies.

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