Executive Traveller exclusive
Cathay Pacific has once again locked the doors of The Pier Business lounge at Hong Kong, less than eight weeks after the flagship space was reopened as a dedicated transit lounge.
This follows sweeping flight bans and aircrew quarantine measures imposed by the Hong Kong government to prevent a looming "fifth wave" of Covid-19.
In an email distributed to travel agents and obtained by Executive Traveller, Cathay Pacific advises that "in light of the increasing number of Omicron cases emerging in many of our major markets and as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of exposure for our employees and the Hong Kong community, we are temporarily closing The Pier, Business lounge at Hong Kong International Airport until further notice."
"Affected passengers will be provided access to a third-party lounge at Hong Kong International Airport," the airline says.
Cathay has since advised this will be the Plaza Premium Lounge near Gate 60, which is located in the same 'orange zone' as The Pier for all connecting flights and transit passengers, while the 'green zone' (at Gates 1 though 24) remains exclusively for flights to the Chinese mainland, with those travellers able to access The Wing First lounge.
Situated on the terminal's upper level The Plaza Premium Lounge is open from 8am to 11.30pm; outside of those hours, travellers will be accommodated at the Plaza Premium Lounge near gate 35.
"Eligible passengers transiting through Hong Kong from destinations other than the Chinese Mainland are invited to relax and unwind at the lounge," Cathay says.
"Eligible passengers starting their journey from Hong Kong or transiting through Hong Kong from the Chinese Mainland will be provided access to The Wing, First."
Eight countries – including Australia, the USA and the UK, Canada, France, India and Pakistan – have been hit by a 14-day ban on all flights into Hong Kong, leading Cathay Pacific to cancel all flights from those nations.
Ongoing stringent quarantine measures have also crippled demand for travel to the once teeming Asian metropolis.
In a statement supplied to Executive Traveller, Cathay Pacific said the airline would “operate at about 2% of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity in January, following the latest aircrew quarantine measures imposed by the Hong Kong SAR Government in view of the rising Omicron cases around the world.”
The email to travel agents paints an even gloomier picture, saying the travel bans and quarantine measures "continue to impact our flight schedule and, consequently, will further reduce our passenger flights to and from Hong Kong from now until tentatively the end of March 2022."