Hong Kong airport scraps green, orange ‘travel zone’ separation

The barriers between designated ‘mainland' and ‘transit’ zones come down, and travellers should soon be able to visit any lounge.

By David Flynn, January 7 2023
Hong Kong airport scraps green, orange ‘travel zone’ separation

Hong Kong airport will no longer be split into two separate zones based on if a traveller is headed to mainland China or in transit, following the reopening of China to Hong Kong and the rest of the world of Sunday January 8.

The once-teeming hub was segregated into green and orange travel zones in November 2021 to avoid Covid cross-infection among inbound passengers, with physical barriers erected at Gate 24 – about a third of the way along Terminal 1’s concourse – serving as the dividing line for travellers as well as airport and airline staff.

The ‘green zone’ from Gates 1 though 24 was set aside for mainland-bound travellers and flights, with the ‘orange zone’ from Gates 25 though 71 for travellers and flights not bound for the mainland.

However, those zones and the partitions between them will be scrapped this weekend.

“Further to the announcement on the resumption of normal travel with Mainland China starting from 8 January by the Hong Kong SAR Government,” a spokesperson for the Airport Authority Hong Kong told Executive Traveller, “the implementation of designated zones at Hong Kong International Airport for flights from/to different places will be revoked accordingly.”

The decision will also allow Cathay Pacific to restore full access to its Hong Kong lounges, which since November 2021 have been split in accordance with the airport itself, with The Wing First for passengers departing Hong Kong or flying to mainland China, and The Pier Business for those in transit.

In normal times, The Wing First – and its long-shuttered sibling The Pier First – would be open to passengers in first class along with those holding Cathay Diamond status or its Oneworld Emerald equivalent. 

Likewise, The Pier Business – along with the now-closed The Wing Business and The Deck – was the go-to for business class travellers and those with Cathay Gold status or its Oneworld Sapphire equivalent.

Cathay Pacific has been approached for comment on changes to lounge access, as well as when it expects to reopen its remaining three lounges at Hong Kong airport.

The airline plans to more than double its flights into the Chinese mainland across the coming week to 61 return flights per week between Hong Kong and 13 mainland Chinese cities, with the aim of operating over 100 return flights per week by March 2023. 

Also read: Soaring again – how Cathay is bringing its planes back from hibernation

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

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