Passengers at Chek Lap Kok frustrated as airlines slowly begin to clear backlog

Airport Authority says flight operations still affected in aftermath of Typhoon Usagi

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 September, 2013, 1:12pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 October, 2013, 4:43pm

Airlines are beginning to clear a backlog of stranded passengers at the Chek Lap Kok airport after the Observatory cancelled typhoon signals on Monday morning.

The billboard at the airport showed that flights would be leaving on time soon after the Observatory lowered the No 8 typhoon signal to a No 3 signal at 9.20am, and then cancelled all typhoon signals at 10.25am.

But the Airport Authority said on its website that flight operations may still be affected today. It advised passengers to contact their airlines for the latest flight status before departing for the airport.

Kobayahsi Takayuki, 29, had been at the airport since last night but had not yet secured a seat from Cathay Pacific to get back to Osaka, Japan by Tuesday.

“My waiting number is 5, which means I can only get a seat on the afternoon flight if five passengers cancel their schedule,” he said.

Takayuki said he was “frustrated and exhausted” at having half of his three-day holiday affected by typhoon and having to sleep overnight at the airport.

“I cannot afford a delayed schedule as I have to work on Monday,” he said.

A 30-year-old Hong Kong businessman, surnamed Lau, was upset with China Airlines’ hotline services after spending more than thousands of Hong Kong dollars on calls to the airline’s office in Guangzhou. His flight to South Korea was scheduled to fly on Monday morning but had been cancelled until further notice.

With no notification from the airline, he had continuously called the customer’s hotline but failed to get an answer.

”I feel helpless, no one can offer help. Not even the Airport Authority can help,” he said.

The airline was only able to offer him a flight to Beijing, but could not guarantee an onward transit flight to South Korea.

As of 9.30am, a total of 119 arrival flights and 110 departure flights had been delayed. In addition, 127 arrival flights and 128 departure flights had been cancelled.

Cathay Pacific announced on its website that the airline would resume services progressively from noon as weather condition permits.

“We anticipate continued flight delays and cancellations with safety as top priority and main consideration as operations gradually return to normal,” the announcement read.

The airline recommended that passengers come to the airport three hours before their flights take off for security immigration checks at Chek Lap Kok.

“Passengers without confirmed bookings are advised not to proceed to the airport. The probability of securing a seat on standby remains very poor. Passengers are also encouraged to defer non-essential travel on 23 September and 24 September,” the announcement says.