The transit passengers ban in Hong Kong was only supposed to be in effect for a month. Since then, this has been extended twice.

The transit passenger ban in Hong Kong will end on April 1, 2022, the same day that Hong Kong is relaxing many coronaviruses related restrictions.

Hong Kong’s ban on transit passengers

Hong Kong has taken one of the strictest approaches to coronaviruses. Not many places have maintained that system since coronaviruses isn't going anywhere. The government of Hong Kong is reversing course because of the omicron outbreak.

Hong Kong's aviation landscape has been greatly impacted by all of these restrictions. In November 2021, Cathay Pacific carried just 70,047 passengers, representing a 97.3% decrease compared to November 2019. Things have gotten worse.

If you are coming from a high-risk country, Hong Kong will not allow you to transit through the airport. Most of the destinations in the network are long haul. This was only supposed to be valid for a month, but has been extended twice.

Passengers on flights arriving from mainland China and Taiwan can continue to connect to onward flights around the world, while passengers starting their journeys from other destinations aren't allowed to transit through Hong Kong during that period.

The policy will change on April 1, 2022. If you are traveling on a single ticket, it will be possible to transit Hong Kong International Airport once again. The flight ban that currently exists for flights from certain countries with high infections rates will be eliminated by Hong Kong as of April 1.

Hong Kong has been banning transit passengers

Can Cathay Pacific recover?

I asked if Cathay Pacific will ever be able to recover. The bigger question is whether Hong Kong will ever recover as Asia's global business hub, rather than a business hub for China.

The airline industry has been hit hard by coronaviruses, but the impact on Cathay Pacific is different. Hong Kong has finally lifted its ban on transit passengers and flights from certain destinations, but this just puts Cathay Pacific into the same spot it was a few months back, which was terrible.

Hong Kong is easing some travel restrictions, but that won't increase demand for travel to Hong Kong.

As the list of destinations in Asia that have opened up in recent weeks keeps growing, it's likely that Cathay Pacific will benefit the most from being able to carry transit passengers to other destinations. The cargo is significant for Hong Kong.

How much longer can Cathay Pacific deal with Hong Kong being closed?

Bottom line

Hong Kong banned transit passengers from most countries for a month in January to stop the spread of the omicron coronaviruses variant. Prior to today, this had been extended twice, despite the fact that the measures haven't worked.

The good news is that the ban will be lifted on April 1, the same day Hong Kong will eliminate its flight ban from certain countries. There is a huge coronaviruses outbreak in Hong Kong, with the highest mortality rate we have seen anywhere.

The good news for the airline is that this puts it in a better position than it is now. The company isn't much better off than it was a few months ago. I'm curious to see if Hong Kong will open up to visitors without the need for a visa, as the airline can't recover until that happens.

What do you think about Hong Kong ending its passenger transit ban?