JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – All flights in and out of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were canceled on Monday (08/12) after thousands of protesters flooded the city’s international airport to denounce police violence, according to the local airport authority.
“Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been canceled for the rest of today,” the airport authority said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators held signs reading “Hong Kong is not safe” and “Shame on police”.
More than 5,000 protesters were gathered at the airport on Monday, Xinhua reported. Airport authorities had allowed demonstrators to gather in the arrivals halls, but police said some protesters went into the departure halls, causing disruption to passengers.
“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted as a result of the public assembly at the airport today,” said the airport authority.
All check-in services were suspended, said the airport authority, adding that departing flights that had completed check-in procedures and arriving flights already heading to Hong Kong were excluded from the suspension.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong said it has launched an emergency management center in the airport and is keeping close contact with airliners to try to resume operation as soon as possible.
Following the disruption, Indonesia’s state-owned operator, PT Angkasa Pura II appealed to passengers traveling to Hong Kong to ensure the airlines related to their flight status. As for the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, there are three airlines serving direct flights from Jakarta – Hong Kong namely Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, and China Airlines.
Cathay Pacific flight route Jakarta – Hong Kong had already been canceled yesterday. Meanwhile, flights to Hong Kong are also served through Kualanamu International Airport by Cathay Dragon.
Company Corporate Secretary Achmad Rifai said Angkasa Pura II will also confirm flight status to each airline.
“We urge passengers who already hold flight tickets to Hong Kong to also ask about the status of their flights so they can anticipate or choose other alternatives.”
“Before heading to the airport, we hope that passengers traveling to Hong Kong have confirmed flight schedules to the airline,” Rifai said.
Hong Kong International Airport on its official website said today it will start rescheduling flights which have an impact on flight movements. Passengers are expected to always pay attention to the latest flight information through the official airport website.
Protesters had already staged a three-day sit-in from Friday at the airport, handing out leaflets about their movement to arriving passengers.
But while several thousand people joined those rallies, the scene on Monday was vastly different, local media reported, with people so tightly packed that it took 15 minutes to move through the crowd from the upper floor to the ground floor in the arrivals hall.
In the early afternoon, shops in the hall began to shut as the protest swelled, but well-organized volunteers moved through the crowd distributing water and food to the mostly young protesters.
Passengers looked confused as they exited wheeling their luggage, with some moving swiftly past the outstretched hands offering information about the pro-democracy movement. As protesters sang and chanted, an occasional muffled announcement could be heard from the loudspeakers above: “All flights have been canceled, please leave as soon as possible.”
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org