KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Tourists from Hong Kong were stranded in Kuala Lumpur after several return flights were either delayed or even cancelled following a mass strike that paralysed the east Asian financial hub yesterday.
It was reported that some Hong Kongers were forced to make last-minute travel arrangements as a result while carriers including AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines rescheduled their flights following advice from the Airport Authority of Hong Kong.
“AirAsia is monitoring the situation in Hong Kong and will continue to provide information on the latest developments,” it said in a statement.
“Guests who continue to travel are strongly advised to allow extra time to travel to/from the airport as well as follow the instructions of our ground staff and airport authorities.”
AirAsia had to reschedule 14 flights in total. Besides Kuala Lumpur, it had also rescheduled flights connecting Hong Kong and Manila, Bangkok, and Krabi.
Malaysia Airlines also rescheduled two flights.
“Following the coordinated strike that is happening in Hong Kong, Malaysia Airlines’ flights MH432 and MH433 of 5 August will be delayed,” it said in a tweet yesterday.
No travel advisory has been issued for today so far.
The president of Kingsley Strategic Institute Tan Sri Michael Yeoh was among those affected by the flight changes, as his Cathay Pacific flight KA 734 from Kuala Lumpur was delayed.
“Hmm my flight to Hong Long today was cancelled because of HK protests and strike,” he posted on his Facebook.
The Star daily reported several tourists who were affected at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with some having to wait hours for the next flight or stay overnight.
“We don’t know if the next flight we are on will still go on or what the situation in Hong Kong would be like by then,” traveller Yan Lo was quoted as saying.
“The airline arranged another flight for me very quickly, but they didn’t mention what we should do in the meantime,” another traveller, Sharon Chan reportedly said.
“It’s an overnight wait, so I need to make arrangements because I did not expect to have to prepare for one more night of accommodation.”
Meanwhile, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi reportedly dismissed the effect of the clashes in Hong Kong on tourists from the city coming here.
“Nor vice versa,” he told The Star, explaining that there is a lot of tourists between Malaysia and Hong Kong.
“It is my guarantee on behalf of the government. I don’t see it giving a bad impact for tourists coming to Malaysia.”
Yesterday, Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters as a general strike plunged the Asian financial hub into fresh chaos, paralysing transport and bringing the city to an unprecedented standstill for much of the morning.
The government has refused to accede to any of the protesters’ main demands, which include a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill and an independent inquiry into government handling of the crisis.
With tourist numbers falling and hotel occupancy rates slumping, the protests are piling pressure on a struggling economy.