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Zero-COVID policy has cost Hong Kong its aviation hub status – IATA
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Zero-COVID policy has cost Hong Kong its aviation hub status – IATA

Hong Kong has lost its position as a global aviation hub due to China’s zero-COVID policy, the head of airlines group IATA said on Wednesday, warning the industry’s recovery from the pandemic would be slowed if Beijing continued its restrictions next year.

Attending an International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference in the Qatari capital Doha, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said China’s zero-COVID policy had “devastated” Hong Kong and hit airline Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) hard.

“Cathay Pacific is a shadow of its former self as a result. Hong Kong has lost its position as a global hub and will struggle to regain it because other hubs have taken advantage of it,” he said, blaming government policies, not the virus.

Hong Kong is traditionally a major hub where passengers transit between international flights and on journeys to China, and is the base of Cathay Pacific.

The pace of the recovery in global passenger demand has picked up over the northern hemisphere summer, with airline executives attributing higher than expected demand to a surge of people keen to travel after two years of restrictions…

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