HKIA closure: Singaporeans scramble to make alternative travel plans

Dhany Osman
(PHOTOS: Courtesy of Joy Koh)
Protesters seen inside the Hong Kong International Airport on Monday (12 August 2019) afternoon. (PHOTOS: Courtesy of Joy Koh)

UPDATE: Flights have resumed at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday morning (13 August).

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans affected by Monday (12 August) afternoon’s flight cancellations at the Hong Kong International Airport are scrambling to make alternative plans to get home.

Melissa Lee, 38, was en route to the airport to catch her Cathay Pacific flight back to Singapore when the airport authorities abruptly cancelled all flights for passengers who were not already checked in.

According to media reports, the move came after thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded the airport building, paralysing operations.

While Lee was on a bus towards the airport, she had hoped to be able to make it into the airport’s lounge to wait things out. But she changed plans when she arrived at the terminal.

“I wasn’t in the hall, but I saw that lots of people in black were thronging the airport terminal,” the programme facilitator told Yahoo News Singapore.

“I was just outside the building, I saw more and more people dressed in black going into the airport. I didn’t feel safe as the police had fired tear gas into an MTR station before,” she added, referring to the city’s Mass Transit Railway system.

Lee ended up making her way back to central Hong Kong and, as of 7.30pm, was on a bus to Shenzhen with plans to catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh and return to Singapore via the Vietnamese city. She said she had yet to hear anything from the airline about the travel disruption.

‘Awareness is important’

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based flight attendant Jess Lee (unrelated) found herself stuck on the Indonesian island of Bali where she had been holidaying. Due to fly back to Hong Kong on Monday evening, the Singaporean found herself having to fork out an estimated $300 for another night’s stay in Bali.

The 34-year-old now plans to travel to Hong Kong via Shenzhen, Guangzhou or Macau.

While the flight cancellations have caused her some inconvenience, Lee said that she understood what was going on at the Hong Kong airport and that the situation did not cause her an “ounce of frustration”.

“Awareness is important. I witnessed the peaceful protest earlier on 26 July and I have trust that it is still a peaceful one today,” she said.

“Hong Kong is in this plight because people have hopes for a better future.”

Stay vigilant, monitor news: Singapore MFA

Separately, Singapore’s Consulate-General in Hong Kong has advised Singaporeans in the city to stay vigilant, monitor the news and take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

Singaporeans were also encouraged to:

Those who require consular assistance can contact the Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong, or the 24-hour MFA Duty Office at:

Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong

Tel: +852-2527-2212 or +852-9466-1251 (after office hours)

Fax: +852-2861-3595


With reporting by Esther Au Yong.

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Hong Kong protests shut down airport