Hong Kong protests likely to affect air cargo operations

As a result of the ongoing Hong Kong protests, all departing passenger flights from Hong Kong International Airport are cancelled on Monday and airport operations have been seriously disrupted, according to a notice on the airport’s website.

The cancellations apply to all passenger flights, and therefore bellyhold cargo operations, but have not affected freighter operations, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Cargo said in a statement.

The Hong Kong protests initially may have sparked in opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill. But the most immediate cause of protesters’ outrage could be linked with what many regard as police brutality. This comes after the police unleashed an extraordinary amount of force against protesters on Sunday.

The Hong Kong International Airport plays an outsize role in Hong Kong’s economy, accounting for 5% of the city’s GDP. The airport handled 5.1 million metric tons of cargo in 2018, a 1.4% increase over 2017 when it was also the busiest cargo hub in the world.

As one of the world’s busiest airports with such a high volume of traffic, any disruption there has widespread global implications. It could have a ripple effect leading to significant delays for passengers as well as air freight shipments in Asia and around the world.

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