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Flights resume in Manila, Hong Kong after Usagi
Rosa Ocampo and Prudence Lui, Manila and Hong Kong, September 24, 2013

ALL flight operations in Manila and Hong Kong are back on track in the wake of Typhoon Usagi that brought gusts of up to 209kmh, forcing flight delays and cancellations in the two cities.


According to a government advisory, Philippines Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB), Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair and China Southern Airlines had cancelled a total of 49 flights between September 21 and 23.


The cancelled flights were from Manila to Hong Kong, Macau, China and Taiwan, destinations also in the path of Typhoon Usagi, or Odette as it is called in the Philippines.


CEB, PAL and PAL Express collectively cancelled a host of flights to Iloilo, Cebu, Clark, Boracay and Batanes, which were severely battered by the typhoon.


Affected passengers were allowed to rebook flights without penalty.


Over in Hong Kong, the tropical cyclone warning was lifted at 10.25 yesterday, prompting a resumption of most flights by 12.00. According to a Hong Kong International Airport source, some 370 flights had been cancelled and 76 delayed on Sunday.


Joseph Tung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council Hong Kong, said it was rare for all air traffic to be suspended.


“Airlines announced in advance they would halt inbound and outbound traffic from 18.00 onwards on September 22. This had never happened before and our members had to look for accommodation for group tours stranded overseas, whereas outbound group traffic couldn’t depart from Hong Kong,” said Tung.


Following the resumption of flights, carriers such as Dragonair have announced extra capacity and flights to Shanghai (Pudong), Qingdao, Sanya and Kaohsiung today to clear the passenger backlog.


Bigger aircraft will also be deployed on the Beijing and Fukuoka routes to accommodate more passengers.

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