JOHANNESBURG – With Hong Kong in an ungovernable state, South African Airways has cancelled flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong.
The South African national carrier has confirmed that a decision had been taken to cancel all flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong from Monday.
According to Eye Witness News, the embattled airline took the decision earlier as protests in the Chinese-ruled territory escalated, affecting millions of travellers.
“SAA will continue to monitor the situation and will be in constant liaise with authorities in Hong Kong to receive updates and to know when to resume operations,” SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.
“SAA would like to apologise for all the inconvenience caused by this operational disruption, which was outside the airline’s control.
“Access to the airport is a bit difficult because of the congested road conditions.”
It is reported Hong Kong’s international airport has cancelled all flights there and the authorities were blaming thousands of demonstrators for the disruption at one of the world’s busiest terminals.
Also, the increasingly violent protests have plunged the island into its most serious crisis in decades.
The unrest began weeks ago in opposition to a bill allowing extradition to mainland China but have widened to highlight other grievances.
Although the Hong Kong Airport re-opened on Tuesday after a rally by thousands of pro-democracy protesters triggered an unprecedented shutdown but hundreds of flights were still listed as cancelled.
The affected flights include SA287 and SA286, but the SAA spokesperson confirmed they will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with their counterparts in Hong Kong.
“Whilst the airport and the airspace remain open, it is not possible to operate in or out of Hong Kong as in some cases terminals have been blocked and access to check-in counters is not possible,” he added as quoted by Jacaranda FM.
“The decision follows an update SAA received from airport authorities in Hong Kong indicating that the conditions at the Hong Kong International Airport are not conducive for the airport and the airlines to run their operations as per normal.”
“SAA regrets the inconvenience caused to its customers and passengers as a result of these cancellations,” he concluded.