Scoot flight from Singapore to Hong Kong forced to turn back; SIA flight diverted due to airport protests
SINGAPORE: A Scoot flight to Hong Kong had to return to Singapore on Monday (Aug 12) while a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight was diverted to Guangzhou due to the shutdown at Hong Kong International Airport.
They were among several flights to and from Singapore that were affected by protests at the Hong Kong airport.
"The flight (TR980), originally scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong at 6.05pm local time, will land at Singapore Changi Airport at approximately 9.10pm local time," said Scoot in response to CNA's queries.
Apart from TR980, three other flights were cancelled. They are - TR974 from Singapore to Hong Kong, as well as TR981 and TR975 from Hong Kong to Singapore.
"In total, about 500 passengers were affected for today’s flights," said the airline. "Scoot sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused."
According to SIA, flight SQ872, which departed Singapore at 2pm, was diverted to Guangzhou Airport and landed at 6.42pm.
It added that a total of 810 passengers, including an infant, were affected by Monday's flight disruptions. SIA flights that were cancelled include SQ871 from Hong Kong to Singapore. SQ2 will operate non-stop from Singapore to San Francisco instead, without stopping in Hong Kong.
SIA said customers are advised to update their contact details or subscribe to a mobile notification service to receive updates to their flight status.
"Efforts will be made to contact customers who have registered their mobile phone and email details with us," said the airline.
As for Scoot, it said that affected customers can rebook their flight to Hong Kong at no additional charge.
Alternatively, they can book Singapore-Macau/Macau-Singapore flights operated by Scoot within 14 days of the original flight, at no additional charge.
Passengers also have the option of getting a full refund via a Scoot travel voucher, said the airline.
SEVERAL FLIGHTS TO AND FROM SINGAPORE AFFECTED
At Changi Airport, six flights from Singapore to Hong Kong were affected - three by Cathay Pacific, two by Singapore Airlines and one by Scoot, said Changi Airport Group (CAG).
"Singapore residents have been advised to return home or not to leave for the airport given the current situation. Those who had checked in have been allowed to collect their baggage," said a CAG spokesperson.
"Non-residents have been advised to check with their airline regarding options available to them which may include alternate flights to their final destination for those who were going to transit in HKG."
A check on Changi Airport's website at about 8.30pm showed that one flight, SQ868, has been retimed to 4am on Tuesday. It was originally scheduled to depart Singapore at 7.55pm on Monday.
"Due to unexpected circumstances at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), flights to and from HKG may be affected. Please check with your airline for the latest information and status of your flight," read an advisory on Changi Airport's website.
The website of Hong Kong International Airport showed that all departure flights from 6pm local time had been cancelled - including six flights to Singapore.
Singaporean Nicole Lim was among the passengers affected by the flight cancellations. She was travelling from New York to Singapore with Cathay Pacific and was in transit in Hong Kong.
"There were no announcements made by the airport about the cancellations. I got my information online," said the 23-year-old.
She later said she was instructed by a Cathay Pacific employee to head to Shenzhen to get another flight from there instead.
Ms Lim said she was told passengers would have to bear the cost of the new flight from Shenzhen, and that their checked-in luggage would be at Hong Kong airport until further notice.
Asked if she would make the trip to Shenzhen, she said she did not want to take the risk.
"I don't think its safe for me to leave and I don't want to take the risk either. I'm concerned about my luggage being here," she added.
The Hong Kong airport authority said it was working with airlines to resume flights from 6am on Tuesday.
Hong Kong was hit by another weekend of violent clashes between police and protesters.
It was the 10th consecutive weekend that protesters have taken to the streets in a movement that began over opposition to a Bill allowing extradition to mainland China.
The protests have morphed into a broader bid to reverse a slide of democratic freedoms in the southern Chinese city.
They have been seen as the biggest threat to Beijing's rule since Britain handed Hong Kong over in 1997.