Hong Kong’s flight ban weakens executives and risks slowing economic growth

Sunday January 09, 2022 6:01 PM

The Hong Kong flight ban has left executives stranded outside of the global financial center, which Fitch Ratings said could dampen its economic growth prospects.

The two-week breaker comes after the city registered the first Covid-19 cases in late December after three months of no community broadcast.

“We believe tightening restrictions on international arrivals will create further barriers to the territory’s ability to serve as the regional headquarters for overseas multinational corporations,” Fitch Ratings told the Financial Times.

It echoes what JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon said late last year amid yet another series of sudden restraints – that they created a difficult hiring environment for big financiers.

Hong Kong has also introduced a seven-day quarantine for pilots and crew members operating cargo flights, which has resulted in a number of flight schedules.

As a result, Cathay Pacific has reduced its cargo capacity to 20 percent and passenger capacity to two percent of pre-pandemic levels.

The stranded executive director of the UK Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, David Graham, said the “unfortunate” flight ban took many workers with families abroad by surprise.

“This will inevitably cause significant disruption and inconvenience, especially for the many Hong Kong-based executives and employees who traveled to the UK with their families over the Christmas season and were planning to return to Hong Kong in early January,” he said.

“We very much hope that, given the extensive quarantine and testing measures already in place for returnees from the UK, the ban will only apply for a very limited period of time.”

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