Japan flight restrictions followed up

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it is highly concerned about the Japanese authority’s restrictions that require passenger flights from Hong Kong to only land at four designated airports in Japan starting December 30, and is following up on the incident on multiple fronts.


The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau notified the Hong Kong SAR Government yesterday that with effect from December 30, passenger flights from Hong Kong will only be allowed to land at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai Airport and Chubu Airport, and that relevant airlines are requested not to increase the number of passenger flights from Hong Kong to Japan.


In response to this notification, the Hong Kong SAR Government has written to the Japanese authority and liaised with the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong to express its grave concern, and to strongly request the Japanese authority to rescind the restrictions concerned.


Meanwhile, the Hong Kong SAR Government has convened an urgent video conference with representatives of the Japanese authority, and has been in close communication with the affected local airlines.


The Hong Kong SAR Government learnt from the Japanese authority today and confirmed that upon the implementation of Japan’s new regulations, the flights of Hong Kong airlines can still carry passengers back to the city from various airports in Japan, without being limited to the above four airports.


It is understood that around 250 outbound flights of Hong Kong airlines will be affected between December 30, 2022 and the end of January 2023, affecting around 60,000 passengers.


Among them, about 4,000 are tour group travellers. More than 150 tour groups are affected by Japan’s decision.


The Transport & Logistics Bureau has urged the local airlines to provide the greatest support and assistance to the affected passengers and make proper arrangements for them to return to Hong Kong from Japan.


The bureau noted that local airlines will provide affected passengers with options to change bookings or obtain refunds, and will, starting December 30, arrange for certain flights to take Hong Kong people in Japan home from airports other than the four mentioned above.


For tour groups, travel agencies are actively co-ordinating with airlines to arrange seats on flights and at the same time providing alternative arrangements for affected passengers, such as arranging other seats, adjusting itineraries, changing tours or obtaining refunds.


The Hong Kong SAR Government said the bureau, Immigration Department, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in Tokyo, Tourism Commission, Travel Industry Authority and the airlines will maintain close contact to keep abreast of the latest situation as well as provide appropriate and feasible assistance to Hong Kong residents in need.


Affected Hong Kong residents in Japan may call the 24-hour hotline (852) 1868 to seek help from the Immigration Department Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit.