New Delhi: A coalition of airlines has called on the Hong Kong government to waive costly airport landing and parking fees in a bid to help the aviation industry ease losses caused by the city’s ongoing anti-government protests.
The Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) of Hong Kong, representing more than 70 airlines flying to and from the city, also proposed cutting other airport operating costs, including rental fees for offices and lounges, according to a letter seen by the South China Morning Post on Monday.
Relief measures worth HK$19 billion ($2.4 billion) was announced by the Hong Kong government last month, but it did not cover airlines.
In the letter to the Transport and Housing Bureau, BAR chairman Ronald Lam Siu-por, who is also a Cathay Pacific executive, said the loss of earnings had made flights to Hong Kong no longer financially viable.
Aviation supports 330,000 jobs in Hong Kong and contributed 10.2 per cent of the city’s GDP.
The Hong Kong International Airport suffered its biggest monthly drop in passengers in a decade, with a decline of 12.4 per cent – or at least 850,000 fewer travellers – in August, a time considered the busiest month of travel, as anti-government protests gripped the city.
The Cathay Pacific Group, whose airlines include its namesake long-haul carrier, regional airline Cathay Dragon and budget operation HK Express, said the costs it sought to have waived represented “a significant expenditure incurred”.
Hong Kong Airlines said such relief measures would provide “critical support” to the company to overcome challenges during this difficult period.