Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. will halt all Hong Kong flights from 2 p.m. Friday afternoon until 10 a.m. Saturday morning as Super Typhoon Saola approaches the Asian financial hub, the airline announced Thursday night.
(Bloomberg) — Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. will halt all Hong Kong flights from 2 p.m. Friday afternoon until 10 a.m. Saturday morning as Super Typhoon Saola approaches the Asian financial hub, the airline announced Thursday night.
Saola has the potential to be the strongest typhoon to hit Hong Kong since Mangkhut battered the city five years ago. The storm earlier caused more than 69,000 people in the Philippines to evacuate and led to more than a dozen flight cancellations in Taiwan.
The local weather agency raised the storm signal to a No. 3, the second lowest level, at 3:40 p.m. on Thursday. The storm signal will be raised by one level on Friday to No. 8 — the threshold at which schools shut and most public transportation is stopped — between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Officials said they may raise it even further to its highest storm signal.
Read More: Hong Kong to Shut Down City Before Super Typhoon Saola Hits
Cathay and its sister budget carrier HK Express account for about half of all flights in and out of Hong Kong International Airport. Cathay expects significant disruptions from the storm and is working to keep aircraft out of the city for a period of time, according to information seen by Bloomberg News.
The airline didn’t rule out further flight delays and cancellations beyond the current 20 hour halt.
HKIA’s website showed 173 of 308 passenger flights scheduled to depart Hong Kong Friday were cancelled, as of 11.30 p.m. Thursday.
Separately, the city plans to shut schools — kindergarten to secondary schools — on Friday, the officials confirmed. Hong Kong’s $5 trillion stock market is expected to close too.
Cathay said it’s waiving refund, rebooking and rerouting charges ahead of the super typhoon to encourage passengers to reschedule travel on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2.
(Updates throughout, Cathay confirms flight suspensions)
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