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Old January 18th, 2008, 03:43 AM   #2361
hkskyline
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Headway in plan to link Shenzhen and SAR airports
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, January 18, 2008

Talks on building a high-speed rail to link Hong Kong and Shenzhen airports were opened yesterday, with Shenzhen Vice Mayor Zhang Siping saying he was pleased with progress.
But a leading aviation expert said both airports could run into difficulties over splitting the costs and dividing their short-haul and long-haul flights.

In the first high-profile meeting of the Task Force on Airport Cooperation, plans were revealed to set up two expert groups to examine the feasibility of the rail link and the level of business cooperation between the airports.

The study will be completed this year.

The rail link was unveiled by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in his policy address last year as part of a blueprint for 10 mega infrastructure projects.

The journey time of the train service would be 20 minutes, compared with the current ferry journey that takes more than an hour.

The link would boost efficiency at both airports, with the likelihood that Shenzhen would focus on short-haul and mainland routes and Hong Kong on regional and long-haul flights, according to Law Cheung-kwok, associate director of the Aviation Policy and Research Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This would benefit Hong Kong's congested airport as smaller aircraft would move to Shenzhen, allowing Hong Kong to accommodate larger, more economically beneficial planes.

Law said the link was possible technically but that the critical sticking point of any feasibility study would be how the airports divide their roles between short- and long-haul flights.

Shenzhen airport provides regional flights to Bangkok, Singapore and Macau and sends long-haul cargo to Europe and America.

"The question is how much should the government lead on the division of labor or should it let the market develop itself," Law said.

The second stumbling block to a deal would be a division of costs.

Law said this could be an issue, pointing to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai- Macau bridge project, which has ground to a halt over financial arrangements.

He predicted the rail link may not be able to support itself for the first few years of operation as it would be expected to pick up only half of the ferry passengers, which total 1,400 a day.

But long term, Law said, passenger numbers would increase substantially as the aviation industry in the Pearl River Delta is forecast to grow by 12 to 15 percent in the next 10 years.

Secretary for Transport and Housing, Eva Cheng Yu-wah, said it was too early to predict the cost of the project as it depended on the alignment and number of stations.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #2362
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I feel that because of geography and urban planning, it is very hard to actually make Shenzhen or Hong Kong Airport, Hong Kong's or Shenzhen's 2nd airport...
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Old January 18th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #2363
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddes View Post
I feel that because of geography and urban planning, it is very hard to actually make Shenzhen or Hong Kong Airport, Hong Kong's or Shenzhen's 2nd airport...
the two airports aren't really that far apart from each other.
the question is how to connect the two airports together efficiently and financially feasible.

the geography and urban planning factors do not come to play in much. because there is only one way to go for the most part in this region these days: underground. once you go deep enough, it doesn't matter what is above you, it can be mountains, can be open area, sea, massive building and a populated cities. the tunnel will just be at the same altitude underground without interrupting the above ground activities.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #2364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
Aviation policies have been loosening to open up the secondary cities for HK carriers; this of course will help to increase the possibility of more flights in and out of the mainland and HK. But one of the big problems is the PRD military reserved air space is limiting the air capacity that the civil airports can handle for civil aviation. This restriction is not going to be loosened in foreseen years. The already small air space over PRD is shared by HKIA, Macau, Shenzhen, GZ and some other smaller airport in the region. There isn't much for each airport to begin with; the additional military restriction has put the capacity comes forward a lot earlier. The outcome is even if the airports are capable to handle more flights, but the sky can't; and this is what we are experience today. Linking two airports together directly is one possible way to maximize the number of destinations.

HKIA can handle 59 flights per hour at the maximum with two runways operating at the same time. It is less than what the demand sometime. The third runway will be needed in order to handle more flights, (or/and hopefully there will be more air space.) With numerous numbers of destinations in mainland China, including primary, secondary, tertiary and other smaller destinations, HKIA alone can’t take everything. It is more beneficial for HKIA to focus internationally and, primary and secondary destinations in mainland; SZ will focus nationally with flights to tertiary and others airports in additional to the primary and secondary.
The loosening of aviation restrictions is meaningless when the PRD is subject to flight caps from airspace constraints. The issue to tackle is not to decentralize Hong Kong's aviation hub into 2 airports, since the airspace constraints are the root cause of the problem right now. We need to discuss with the mainland to open up a few corridors and find better ways of sharing the congested skies with Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Macau. Moving the regional flights to Shenzhen only shifts the problem away, but the pool itself is the same and the overall # of flights are stuck until the military does something. Meanwhile, Hong Kongers will need to worry about travelling to Shenzhen airport, which is out of reach and too far away for most of us, even with this new express railway.

This is a far more urgent problem to handle than the 3rd runway, which is not expected to make an impact until a few years down the road.

Hong Kong's position should always be leveraging our strengths to pushing for growth, rather than sharing our very successful business with incumbants and competitors. Why make us less attractive to be an international aviation hub? Foreign travellers are supposed to be major beneficiaries of the Cathay - Dragonair deal. Fly international into Hong Kong on Cathay and connect to a vast Chinese network with Dragonair upon landing - the seemless transfer. Under the present proposals, it's going to be a land in HK, then get on a train for 20 minutes to get to Shenzhen baggage on hand. Not exactly the most pleasant experience considering our lucrative long-haul customers come from Europe and North America, easily 10+ hours away on a long and tiresome flight.

In fact, separating HK into international and Shenzhen into regional flights makes Hong Kong a very undesirable place to transfer. Why not just buy an Air China ticket and transfer in Beijing instead? It's a 1 airport transfer and the luggage will go through automatically without clearing a 2nd level of immigration. Why not fly Vietnam Airlines and transfer in Hanoi? Although end-point customers are far more beneficial to our economy, we cannot underestimate the impact of an efficient airport on both tourists and business travellers, the latter of which have more interesting itineraries that often hinge on odd hops and are unlikely going to enjoy airport transfers. Being the fatcats the airlines desire to do business with, the business clientele is one that Cathay and Dragonair cannot afford to offend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
The crowded terminal and the near fully utilized boarding gates at HKIA aren’t a very big problem. HKIA has room to build an addition terminal to have more gate and boarding facility. It's in the master plan, and it's going to be built very soon. When it’s done, the relief will come.

The rail between two airports can also help to capture those travelers in HKIA and SZ going to/from secondary or tertiary destination that would have flown to/from other major aviation hubs in China for the connection besides just GZ.
While Hong Kong should be expanding its reach by leveraging on our international and China connectivity, the Shenzhen railway plan is pitifully inadequate to achieve the goal. As I've mentioned before, we need to get the entire swath of population up to Guangzhou. At 200 km/h, the new HSR that leverages on the upgraded mainland network can easily get Guangzhou within an hour's reach of Hong Kong - very feasible and competitive. We need to push for a direct link between HKIA, Kowloon, and Guangzhou. We have so much money from the fiscal surplus to build this link. Then open up the airspace and we're all set for massive growth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
I do agree if the rail is only connecting the two airports won’t be sustainable. But it’s all possible to have a stop at SZ train station for a transfer train to GZ or other destination as well. It’s also possible to have services between both SZ airports and GZ as well if this airport rail will be built to HSR standard.
Agreed. However, the new HSR to China is not supposed to interchange at Lo Wu, hence it'll be hard to make that transfer stop. Perhaps further north along the alignment ...
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Old January 20th, 2008, 04:02 AM   #2365
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The problem isn't with the lack of gates, but rather too many people are crowding into T1, and more check-in desks are needed. T2 is only for check-in and facilities, not aircraft boarding.
Oh okay, thanks for your explanation.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 11:16 AM   #2366
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Are the yellow tags often found stuck on luggage leaving from HKG also RFID tags?
yes it is. If you look closely, there is a small chip right at the center of that transparent tape.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #2367
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yes it is. If you look closely, there is a small chip right at the center of that transparent tape.
so my initial observations were correct! Was HKIA the only airport to use RFID tags on luggage or were they cooperating with other int'l airports? But now that they will be incorporating it with the barcode label, will those yellow stickers be removed?
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 04:24 PM   #2368
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Royal Jordanian launches Hong Kong service

AMMAN, Jan 20, 2008 (AFP) - National carrier Royal Jordanian launches a new service to Hong Kong next week in a bid to bolster tourism and trade between the kingdom and China, the company said Sunday.

The three-flights-a-week service begins Tuesday and will include stopovers in the Thai capital Bangkok, airline chief Samer Majali said, adding that the service is expected to become daily next summer.

Majali said the new route was aimed at bolstering trade and tourism between Jordan and China and will cater particularly to businessmen.

Royal Jordanian, which is working on plans to privatise, has a fleet of 26 passenger planes and serves more than 50 destinations around the globe.

It has opened several new routes over the past two years.

Last year it signed a deal with Boeing to buy two 787 Dreamliner long-haul aircraft, with options for two more, as part of an overall strategy to overhaul its fleet which currently consists mostly of Airbuses.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:08 PM   #2369
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Press Release

HKIA Posts Record Traffic Figures in 2007

(Hong Kong, 23 January 2008) - Throughput at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) set new records in 2007, with passenger numbers climbing 7.5% from 2006, to 47.8 million, cargo volumes growing 4.5%, to 3.7 million tonnes, and air traffic movements advancing 5.4%, to 295,600.

Stanley Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong, noted, "It was a good year for passenger traffic, as robust economic growth in both Mainland China and Hong Kong continued to underpin the increase in throughput at HKIA.

"Hong Kong was an attractive destination for travellers from jurisdictions with appreciating currencies and the Individual Visit Scheme facilitated tourist flows from the Mainland. Outbound travel by Hong Kong residents also experienced good growth because of the strong local economy, which led to a higher propensity to spend and travel," Mr Hui said.

Cargo throughput at HKIA benefited from sustained growth in trade between China and its major trading partners. While seasonal factors contributed to a slow start to the year, traffic began to pick up in the second quarter. "Cargo volumes have been increasing since the second quarter of 2007, stimulated in part by intra-regional transshipments to and from the Mainland and by exports to Southeast Asia. In addition, the strength of the euro helped to create healthy demand for cargo services to and from Europe," Mr Hui added.

Mr Hui is confident about 2008. HKIA should benefit from the Mainland and Hong Kong's positive economic fundamentals, the growth momentum of both economies, and passenger flows associated with the Beijing Olympic Games. Despite an expected slowdown in the United States, Mr Hui is cautiously optimistic about cargo throughput in 2008.

HKIA is undertaking a series of terminal and airfield enhancements to prepare the airport to serve 50 million passengers annually. These expansion projects will also ensure HKIA continues to deliver award-winning levels of service, comfort and efficiency.

HKIA benefited from strong holiday-driven demand in December. Passenger throughput reached 4.3 million, up 9.1% from December 2006, while cargo volumes grew 5.7%, to 338,000 tonnes, and air traffic movements increased 5.9%, to 25,650.

http://www.hongkongairport.com/pr_download/200712e.pdf
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:50 PM   #2370
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Press Release

Hong Kong Express Airways Granted Beijing and Shanghai Routes

Obtains Coveted Third Carrier Status under New Liberalisation Agreement Summer Timetable to see Double Daily Flights to Beijing and Shanghai

Hong Kong, 22nd January 2008 … Hong Kong Express Airways is delighted to announce its designation by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department as the third Hong Kong carrier permitted to operate flights between Hong Kong and Beijing, and Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Following a new agreement signed last month between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities to further liberalise the aviation market by increasing the number of airlines allowed to operate on key mainland China routes, Hong Kong Express Airways’ application to be the third designated carrier to operate flights to Beijing and Shanghai has been approved.

“It has always been our goal to provide services on these key routes so naturally we are overjoyed at seeing our goal realised. This is fantastic news,” said Mr. Ronnie Choi, President of Hong Kong Express Airways. “2008 will be a landmark year for Hong Kong Express Airways.”

To facilitate the airline’s expansion in 2008, Hong Kong Express Airways will add a further six Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its current four-strong fleet of the same type before the end of the year.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 04:44 AM   #2371
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DHL adds more Hong Kong-Philippines air freight service
23 January 2008
Ta Kung Pao

DHL International strengthens its air freight network in Asia in order to satisfy an increasing demand for air cargo transportation. Air cargo service between Hong Kong and Manila will operate more frequently from four times a week to five times a week starting from the mid-January 2008. The additional service ensures sufficient capacity for air express service between Hong Kong and the Philippines. DHL anticipates the added service to push up the cargo transportation capacity by 58% to 240 tons per week.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 08:21 AM   #2372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dicksonlai View Post
Press Release

Hong Kong Express Airways Granted Beijing and Shanghai Routes

Obtains Coveted Third Carrier Status under New Liberalisation Agreement Summer Timetable to see Double Daily Flights to Beijing and Shanghai

Hong Kong, 22nd January 2008 … Hong Kong Express Airways is delighted to announce its designation by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department as the third Hong Kong carrier permitted to operate flights between Hong Kong and Beijing, and Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Following a new agreement signed last month between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese authorities to further liberalise the aviation market by increasing the number of airlines allowed to operate on key mainland China routes, Hong Kong Express Airways’ application to be the third designated carrier to operate flights to Beijing and Shanghai has been approved.

“It has always been our goal to provide services on these key routes so naturally we are overjoyed at seeing our goal realised. This is fantastic news,” said Mr. Ronnie Choi, President of Hong Kong Express Airways. “2008 will be a landmark year for Hong Kong Express Airways.”

To facilitate the airline’s expansion in 2008, Hong Kong Express Airways will add a further six Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its current four-strong fleet of the same type before the end of the year.
that's good news for HK. Other airlines have been asking for something like this for a while. Now, cathay cannot dominates these two major routes.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 05:44 PM   #2373
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Three Applications from HK Express issued in the HK Gov't Gazette. Please click the links below for more details.

From HK to Cities in India and Middle East

From HK to Cities in Australia

From HK to Cities in Japan
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Old January 27th, 2008, 06:11 PM   #2374
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Airlines get green light to raise fuel surcharge
27 January 2008
South China Morning Post

Increased airline fuel surcharges will not put a dampener on Lunar New Year travel plans as the public have "grown used" to rising air ticket prices, the head of the Travel Industry Council said yesterday.

Cathay Pacific is expected to increase its oil surcharge fees from Friday, the fourth such increase in six months.

Cathay Pacific and five other airlines obtained approval from the Civil Aviation Department on Friday to raise its oil surcharge from this week, from HK$466 to HK$508 for long-distance journeys and from HK$113 to HK$123 for its short-haul flights. The surcharge levied on Cathay's long-distance flights has risen 23 per cent since July.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said that the new round of oil surcharges were not likely to dampen people's flight plans.

"They've actually become used to it," Mr Tung said.

Other airlines expected to raise their fuel surcharges from Friday are Dragonair, China Eastern, JetStar Asia, Royal Nepal and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #2375
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Airport fast lane to save time for frequent visitors
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Immigration Department will set up six e-channels, costing HK$4.8 million, for frequent overseas visitors at the airport.

The automatic system will shorten the time for clearance from one minute to 12 seconds. Currently visitors spend on average 14 minutes waiting in line.

An estimated 80,000 travelers will use the new system during a six-month trial scheduled for March or April.

The service will be available for holders of the HKSAR travel pass, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business travel card and Hong Kong International Airport frequent-visitor card.

Eligible visitors have to spend 10 minutes to enroll at the airport, including having their fingerprints and photo taken.

The e-channel machines can read both passports and smart cards.

A sticker, with anti-forgery features and containing data such as length of stay allowed, will be printed out at the end of the fingerprint identification process.

Visitors will have to affix the sticker to their passports.

"We chose the airport for the trial because it is our busiest control point for foreign visitors," Director of Immigration Lai Tung-kwok said yesterday.

The department has also started, since February 2007, checking visitors who are 28 weeks pregnant or more.

Those believed to be coming to Hong Kong to give birth are persuaded to leave if they do not have proof of booking arrangements with a hospital.

At the end of last year, 32,468 pregnant visitors arrived at the border but 7.7 percent of them were turned away because they did not meet the requirements.

According to the Hospital Authority, the number of deliveries admitted via emergency services by women not eligible for such services in Hong Kong has dropped 90.5 percent, from a weekly average of 209 in December 2006 to 19.8 last month.

The immigration chief also said 15 South Asian and African countries have been removed from the visa waiver program since 1998 because an increasing number of their nationals have abused a United Nations covenant to avoid repatriation.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of people from those countries lodging torture claims only after being arrested for contravening laws in Hong Kong.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #2376
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Hong Kong Airlines Adjusts Fuel Surcharge on 1 Feb 2008
2008 Jan 29
Press Release

With effect from 1 Feb 2008, all tickets issued on/after that date by Hong Kong Airlines (HX) will be levied a fuel surcharge of HKD123 (USD15.80) per sector for all flights.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 06:35 PM   #2377
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HK proposes to exempt import, export declaration charges on articles used in aircraft

HONG KONG, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong government said Wednesday that it planned to introduce the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 2008.

The suggestion of introducing the amendment regulation is to exempt all import and export declaration charges in respect of aircraft parts and accessories used in the repair or maintenance of aircraft owned or chartered by local-based airlines.

The spokesman said that the scope of exemption under the proposal also covered the import declaration charges on articles used in the repair and maintenance of freight containers operated by local-based sea or air freight transport companies.

"This is a technical amendment to regulation 8 of the Import and Export (Registration) Regulations to better reflect our policy concerning the exemptions. Nevertheless, while the proposal seeks to exempt the declaration charges, traders will continue to be required to lodge relevant trade declarations," the spokesman said.

The amendment regulation will be introduced into the Legislative Council (Legco) on Feb. 20, and subject to Legco approval, it will be gazetted on Feb. 22 and commence operation on the same date.

At present, anyone who lodges an import/export declaration in respect of an article not exempted from declaration charge is required to pay a declaration charge.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 07:52 AM   #2378
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A bit strange a Star Alliance airline will promote flights on a oneworld partner :

Lufthansa to cease Manila-Europe flights: reports

MANILA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- German carrier Lufthansa Airlines will no longer fly from Manila to Europe starting March 30 due to tough competition posed by Middle Eastern airlines, reports said on Tuesday.

The reservation office of Lufthansa in Manila confirmed that by April, the airline will be out of Manila and that all its European flights will be made via Hong Kong, Philippine TV network ABS-CBN reported.

Filipino travelers who want to take Lufthansa flights to Europe can go to Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa said.


Lufthansa was the latest among European carriers to pull out of the country following British Airways, Swiss International, Alitalia and Air France.

Lufthansa has been operating in the Philippines for more than two decades, and accounts for nearly 30 percent of passenger traffic to and from Europe.

This leaves KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as the only European carrier flying non-stop from Manila to Europe via Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, flag carrier Philippines Airlines is hesitant to fly to Europe, saying that the service is not profitable at the moment because of small passenger traffic.

Philippines Airlines president Jaime Bautista said the airline is more interested in adding flights to the United States than in opening flights to Europe.

This, despite the recent downgrade in the country's aviation rating from Category 1 to Category 2, which requires carriers to maintain a status quo of current services to the States.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #2379
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so my initial observations were correct! Was HKIA the only airport to use RFID tags on luggage or were they cooperating with other int'l airports? But now that they will be incorporating it with the barcode label, will those yellow stickers be removed?
KLIA is planning to use RFID. The trial has completed
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Old January 31st, 2008, 05:26 AM   #2380
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Travel sector fears canceled tours
30 January 2008
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

Amid fears that hundreds of holiday tours to the mainland could be canceled next week, travel industry representatives will meet today in an emergency session.

Among the topics: the possibility of having to give millions of dollars worth of refunds during the peak Chinese New Year travel season.

The refund possibility stems from a Hong Kong Travel Industry guideline saying that if travel agencies cancel tours outside of Guangdong Province less than two weeks before the scheduled departure, customers' travel costs must be fully refunded and the agencies should include a bonus of 15 percent of the tour's fee.

The council's chief executive, Joseph Tung, said the snow storms are rare and out of the control of the travel industry.

He said the travel agencies will suffer serious financial losses if they follow the guideline. And in that regard, he said that both the interests of both passengers and the industry should be considered.

But Ng Hay-on, deputy general manager of China Travel Service, said he doesn't think the guideline is applicable when the cancellation is related to nature.

His travel agency has already canceled two tours to Changsha that were scheduled to depart today and this Saturday.

Ng said that in the interest of their safety, travelers probably wouldn't want to depart in bad weather.

The mainland blizzards have already hurt the company and resulted in more short trips to Guangdong being planned to make up for the losses, Ng said.

The news is worsened, Tung said, given that more than 100 flights are scheduled to leave Monday for Changsha, Nanjing and Wuhan - where the airports are currently closed because of bad weather.

He said it's unknown when the airports will be able to reopen. Those regions, and others on the mainland, are still being rocked by severe weather that continues to disrupt air and rail transport from Hong Kong.

Yesterday evening, 24 flights to and from the mainland were canceled and 61 were delayed.

The cancellations were due to bad weather in Shanghai, Nanjing, Nanchang, Changsha, Wuhan and Hangzhou.

The Airport Authority asked passengers to call airline companies before going to the airport.

Three trains, including a Beijing-bound one that departed on Sunday, have been delayed, affecting 900 passengers.

And because of power interruptions, those passengers may not even have access to electricity or hot water on the trains, according to MTR Corporation General Manager for Intercity and Freight Carmen Li.
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