Air India on Monday canceled its flight from Delhi to Hong Kong following a two weeks ban from flying into Hong Kong. The decision was taken after 11 arrivals on an Air India flight tested positive for coronavirus, despite strict preflight testing.
The decision has left hundreds of travelers stranded and out of pocket as flights were canceled at the last minute.
The Hong Kong government believes that poor preflight testing for the virus is to blame for the situation. It is the first time an airline has been directly penalized for bringing cases into the city. A government source told the SCMP,
“The fact 11 passengers tested positive on the same flight shows the lab tests back in India are not very reliable. The airline has to do deep cleaning [on its planes] and make sure it won’t happen again on future flights before they can be resumed.”
Air India suspension from flying to Hong Kong commenced from today, August 18th and will end by August 31st. The government of Hong Kong was able to do this by invoking the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travelers) Regulation.
This law allows officials to prevent an aircraft from landing if they believe passengers onboard to have contracted or to have been exposed to the virus. It is the first time that an airline has received such a ban and brings concerns over the efficacy of the testing being done by Air India.