Plane ticket prices to and from Hong Kong recently underwent a massive surge after the city announced it would finally ease its COVID-19 protocols for arriving tourists and returning residents.
For the first time in two-and-a-half years, tourists can now enter Hong Kong without having to do a mandatory weeks-long hotel quarantine at their own expense.
“I’m conscious of the fact that, while we need to control the spread of Covid, we also need to ensure that there will be maximum activities in society and economic activities for society to carry on,” Chief Executive of Hong Kong John Lee said.
Travel websites have reported a surge in inbound and outbound flights after Lee’s announcement. The news also affected flight ticket pricing to and from Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific Airways, the only airline offering non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, has reportedly increased its business class ticket prices amid the recent changes.
For example, a business class flight leaving on Friday and returning on Oct. 7 would cost 102,270 HKD (approximately $13,000) based on Monday’s pricing. While the flight’s cost dropped to 76,000 HKD (approximately $9,600) on Tuesday, this is still double the fare of 44,499 HKD (approximately $5,600) for the same trip for next year, according to Bloomberg.
The cost of a flight to or from London’s Heathrow Airport has doubled amid the surge of travelers to 28,899 HKD (approximately $3,600), as seen on Cathay’s website on Monday. This is more than four times the price for the same period next year.
Travel agency Trip.com reportedly saw a 400% increase in outbound bookings on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 compared to the previous weekend, while inbound bookings surged by 150%. Flight bookings for Osaka, one of the recent top destinations alongside Tokyo, Bangkok and Singapore, were up by 7,300%, the website noted.
Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Travel Association (IATA), recently weighed in on Hong Kong’s latest measures, saying they are still insufficient to restore air travel into the city.
“I have huge sympathy for Hong Kong and the airlines there, particularly Cathay Pacific and the airport,” Walsh told South China Morning Post.
“They are global brands who have been significantly damaged by some of the measures put in place that have been unique to the area and difficult for people to understand when the rest of the world was, in effect, operating normally,” he added.
Featured Image via Mk2010 (CC BY-SA 3.0)