The COVID pandemic has a significant impact on almost all facets of commercial aviation. However, some people have fallen much farther than others have. Prior to the pandemic, Hong Kong International Airport was the busiest hub in Asia. However, the situation is now completely different, with Delhi and Kuala Lumpur airports in the region now handling more passengers than Hong Kong.
Asia’s busiest airport
Singapore Changi Airport has surpassed Hong Kong as the busiest airport in Asia, according to data provided by analysis and consultancy firm Sobie Aviation. The airport served 7.3 million passengers during the second quarter of this year, which ended in June.
According to South China Morning Post, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport share the second place with 3.2 million passengers each, leaving Hong Kong out of the top ten Asian airports.
Seoul Incheon Airport, with 2.9 million, and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with 2.6 million, round out the top five.
Compared to the same period in 2019, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 19.1 million passengers, followed by Seoul Incheon (17.6 million), Changi (16.8 million), Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (12.3 million), and Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport (11.3) (also 12.3 million).
HKIA didn’t even made place in Top 10
HKIA is a bare shell of what it once was in 2022. Only 591,000 people passed through the airport in the three months ending in June. Before the epidemic, HKIA routinely held the top spot as Asia’s busiest hub airport.
But it nevertheless upholds a stringent COVID strategy to control the virus, in sharp contrast to other significant airports throughout the world. Despite the airport’s efforts to reduce admission restrictions by cutting hotel quarantine to three days, followed by further four days of health monitoring and additional tests, it still appears like a bother to visitors, especially given how inviting other locations in the area are.
Fully immunised tourists are no longer required to undergo pre-departure COVID-19 testing and are no longer subject to quarantine upon arrival in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and many other Southeast Asian nations.
Even one of Asia’s once-largest airlines, Cathay Pacific, is having difficulty keeping losses in check.
The airline reported a deficit of HK$4.99 billion ($637 million) for the first half of 2022 as opposed to HK$7.56 billion ($963 million) in the first half of 2021. According to Cathay Pacific Chairman Patrick Healey, a shortage of crew resources caused by the current quarantine regulations significantly restricts the company’s ability to fly more flights.
How long Hong Kong will experience the pandemic’s effects is still unknown. To stop the downward spiral it is now in, HKIA will soon have to begin reestablishing its lost relationships.
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