A massive protest that canceled all passenger flights at Hong Kong International Airport is not expected to have an impact on cargo flights between there and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, an official said.
Cargo planes were still departing and arriving at the Hong Kong airport as of early afternoon Monday, said Anchorage airport manager Jim Szczesniak.
“As long as the cargo planes are allowed to flow, we shouldn’t see any major impacts,” he said in an email.
This protest movement in Hong Kong began in June, over a bill that would allow extraditions from the semiautonomous territory to mainland China. The movement has since grown to embody "a widespread sentiment that the territory’s government does not work for its people and exists to advance an agenda set by Beijing,” The Washington Post reported.
There have been street protests and a citywide strike. In recent days, protesters filled the airport. Passenger flights were canceled by late Sunday night Alaska time, which was Monday afternoon in Hong Kong.
At 2 p.m. Monday Alaska time, a notice posted on the airport’s website said it “will implement flight rescheduling today," which is already Aug. 13 in China, “with flight movements expected to be affected.” Many protesters had begun to leave the airport, the Washington Post reported.
Hong Kong is the busiest cargo airport in the world, and Anchorage International is No. 5 in terms of cargo throughput, according to the state.
There are about 20 cargo flights daily between the two cities, Szczesniak said, and there are no passenger flights between Hong Kong and Alaska.
“Because we don’t have any passenger flights to Hong Kong, it doesn’t affect us," he said.
Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific posted a notice on its website that all passenger departing flights were canceled Monday as a result of the protest, but “Cathay Pacific’s Freighter operation and schedule remains unaffected.”
A Cathay Pacific cargo flight scheduled to fly from Anchorage to Hong Kong Monday afternoon was delayed, but that appeared to be a “typical delay” and not related to the protest, Szczesniak said.
UPS is not experiencing any service issues as a result of the protest in Hong Kong, a spokesman said in an email.
Other airlines that typically run flights between Anchorage and Hong Kong include FedEx, Atlas Air Inc., Cargolux, Kalitta Air, and Polar Air Cargo.