As COVID-19 restrictions ease in Hong Kong, major airlines are desperately searching to fill pilot and cabin crew shortages.
It was reported on Monday that industry experts were saying the Hong Kong aviation sector must return to at least half its pre-pandemic number of passenger flights to cope with an anticipated surge in demand.
Airlines will face significant challenges meeting the incoming wave of passengers. Recruiting enough people power to staff pilot and cabin crew positions to jump from 5,080 passenger flights in August to 30,000 flights in the same period in 2019.
‘“Hong Kong needs to drastically increase its flight capacity to fully benefit from the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. It needs to do it quickly, or travellers will go elsewhere,” said senior lecturer Andrew Yuen Chi-lok of Chinese University’s Aviation Policy and Research Centre.”
“Airlines need to rehire experienced pilots and step up retraining of junior pilots. This is very important,”
Hong Kong has taken significant steps to return to pre-pandemic travel as of late. In September, Hong Kong ended its mandatory hotel quarantine period for incoming tourists. Additionally, as reported by Gabriella Van Jennians for Travel Radar, the Hong Kong Tourism Board have announced that they will be giving away 500,000 free plane tickets to attract tourists to the city region costing HK$2 billion (US$218 million).
China’s Boarder Crucial to Hong Kong Tourism
The lift in COVID restrictions by Hong Kong has raised questions about the status of travelling across the border from mainland China, which was the city’s biggest source of tourism before the pandemic, as they stick to their firm“zero-Covid” policy.
Aviation analyst Joanna Lu, head of consultancy Asia at Cirium, said that China’s border closure may have ripple effects on tourism to Hong Kong more broadly
“Most long-haul travellers would probably want to spend some time in mainland China when they travel all the way to Hong Kong,” she said.
Chinese University’s Yuen reiterated Joanna Lu’s comments, going as far as to say that “Hong Kong can only restore its status as an aviation hub as early as 2024, but it will very much depend on when it will reopen its borders with mainland China.”
Will you be planning a visit to Hong Kong in the coming future? Do you want to learn more about how to claim one of these free plane tickets? Let us know in the comments…