The Hong Kong government is said to be considering a mandatory quarantine on all arriving aircrew to reduce the risk of fast-spreading variants of the Coronavirus. The move comes following a surge in infection rates within Hong Kong.
The potential changes
Hong Kong’s Transport and Housing Bureau said in a statement to the media that:
“The government is continuously keep reviewing and refining the arrangements applicable to different categories of exempted groups, including air crew, with reference to all relevant considerations.”
Hong-Kong based crew are currently required to conduct a Covid-19 test on arrival, and isolate in hotels for 24 hours prior to receiving the results. This includes crews staying in hotels at outstations. Under the new proposal, all Crew Member Certificate holders, including pilots and cabin crew, will be required to undertake a 14 days hotel quarantine after arriving in Hong Kong with more than a 2 hours layover/stay.
Foreign airlines are already implemented new crew configuration for their flights into Hong Kong, in order to avoid testing and quarantine requirements. Airlines are also reviewing their current Precision Time Schedule to ensure the turnaround can be completed within the 2 hours requirement in order for their crews not to be forced into quarantine.
However, the new proposal has drawn attention and potentially challenge, due to the financial implications for local airlines. The city’s largest carrier, Cathay Pacific, has raised a concern as the majority of the flying staff are Hong Kong based and they would have no way of avoiding the quarantine regulation. Similar rules affect regional competitors like Taiwanese carriers after several cases from local pilots. The link between transportation and surging cases has led to Singapore Listing all aircrew as ‘key workers’ and has confirmed they will be one of the first to receive the vaccine.
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