Protests ground SAA flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong

12 August 2019 - 15:11 By TimesLIVE
Demonstrators at the departure hall of Hong Kong Airport, China, on August 12 2019. South African Airways has cancelled flights to and from Hong Kong after the protest action.
Demonstrators at the departure hall of Hong Kong Airport, China, on August 12 2019. South African Airways has cancelled flights to and from Hong Kong after the protest action.
Image: REUTERS/Issei Kato

All flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong on South African Airways (SAA) were grounded on Monday following protest action at Hong Kong International Airport.

“The authorities in Hong Kong have suspended air operations to and from the airport,” said SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali.

“Assistance will be provided to all ticketed customers holding an SAA ticket [only] via any SAA call centre, city travel office or your own travel agent,” he said.

The following flights were affected – SA287 (from Hong Kong to Johannesburg), and SA286 (from Johannesburg to Hong Kong).

Authorities in Hong Kong were blaming thousands of demonstrators for the disruption.

The protests began 10 weeks ago over a bill allowing extradition of suspects to China and other grievances.

Tlali said SAA would be in constant liaison with the authorities in Hong Kong to receive updates and to know when operations could resume.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused by this operational disruption and encourage all customers to visit our website for flight updates or flight cancellations.”

Hong Kong correspondent for AFP, Elaine Yu, tweeted images of a tearful woman kneeling in front of riot police during the protests. "I came from South Africa to move away from this. I don’t want this," she said.

Hong Kong riot police were filmed using heavy-handed tactics on August 11 2019. Footage shows a crowd of journalists around a young demonstrator surrounded by police. Hong Kong is currently experiencing the largest protests to ever affect the city.


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