15th May 2022 – (Hong Kong) The fifth wave of COVID-19 epidemic has dropped, and the Hong Kong government’s anti-epidemic strategy to cut off the flight suspension mechanism has caused heated discussions among all parties. Since Hong Kong has withdrawn the flight suspension mechanism for regional flights from 9 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and India since the 1st of last month, flight movements and arrivals in Hong Kong have improved in the first month. According to the latest figures from the Civil Aviation Department, there were 5,160 passenger flights which landed and 55,000 passengers who arrived from the airport, both hitting new highs since February.
Compared with February and March, there were only 4,165 and 4,935 passenger flights, a significant increase of about 23.9% and 4.6% respectively. During the same period, the epidemic situation in Hong Kong continued to decline, confirming that some experts questioned the statement that “the flight suspension mechanism has little effect”. The number of arrivals can best reflect the effect of the lifting of the no-fly order. In April, 55,500 people arrived in Hong Kong, surpassing the total number of arrivals at the airport in the first three months of the first quarter of this year of 54,231. An increase of about 1.6 times. At that time, only 20,819 people arrived at Hong Kong from the airport.
In February and March this year, only about 17,000 and 16,500 people arrived in Hong Kong via the airport, which was the lowest point in the epidemic in more than two years. However, as soon as the flight ban was lifted, the flow of visitors to Hong Kong increased exponentially. Since this month, the authorities have further relaxed the threshold of the flight suspension mechanism and allowed non-local residents who have stayed overseas in the past 14 days to arrive in Hong Kong. Although the Civil Aviation Department has not released the data for May, according to the statistics on the number of arrivals and departures, the number of overseas passengers(i.e. non-Hong Kong residents or mainland visitors) entering from the airport has increased significantly from 4 to 32 per day before May.