CNN notes that the flight that triggered this ban took place on November 27th.
As is the case with other carriers, KLM is still allowed to operate flights from Hong Kong back to its home airport. This means that the carrier would have to operate the outbound flight without any passengers, thus having to rely much more on cargo revenue.
Via KLM’s website and flight-search-engine, we have confirmed that this is indeed the case, with flights to Hong Kong unavailable for booking (until December 17th) while flights to Amsterdam throughout the next week can still be purchased.
Hong Kong’s new strict rules
The government has stated that it reserves the right to block a route for 14 days under specific conditions. According to CNN, two conditions are as follows:
- If a passenger on board an aircraft carrying COVID-19 fails to comply with pandemic control measures.
- When an airline carries more than five COVID-19-positive passengers.
The South China Morning Post notes the additional condition that could trigger a ban. An airline will be barred for two weeks if any travelers on a flight with a COVID-19-positive passenger fail to comply with Hong Kong’s pandemic control measures.
In the case of KLM’s November 27th flight, it has not been disclosed what the specific infraction was. However, the most common infraction during these times has been a violation of a 14-day-quarantine/self-isolation policy.