Hong Kong airport disruption having 'significant' impact on Kiwis - travel agent

A top travel agent says the suspension of operations at Hong Kong's airport is causing "significant disruptions", that reach far beyond just air travel.

Hong Kong is currently seeing mass protests against influence by Beijing into the financial hub. One of the key sites over the last week of demonstrations has been the airport, where thousands of protesters are conducting a sit-in.

That's led to hundreds of departing flights being delayed on Monday and Tuesday night after airport operations were suspended. Many arrivals have also been blocked.

While there were violent clashes between police and protesters, who want to see a controversial extradition Bill withdrawn from the city's legislative programme and chief executive Carrie Lam replaced, demonstrators remain.

The suspension of operations is having a massive impact on Kiwi travellers, according to House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas, who told The AM Show around 1000 Kiwis go there every day.

"Typically on a daily basis there are about 1000 Kiwis who are affected, either coming to Hong Kong or going from Hong Kong. So it is a significant disruption at this stage," he said.

"Some are stranded in New Zealand. Obviously, airlines are looking to see if they can skirt Hong Kong, so people who are trying to go to Europe may go through a different place."

Thomas said airlines and travel agents were working with customers to sort their plans out, but it wasn't an easy task and more than just air travel was being affected.

"You can't just move planes around easily as there are slots going into each of the airports.

"This is the peak travel season going up to Europe, so it is not only about the airlines, that means they have crews, hotels, car rentals that are being impacted as well.

"Typically, if you have taken travel insurance before a known event… then travel insurance would cover for any additional reasonable costs."

But New Zealand's exports to the financial hub are also being disrupted, according to Thomas.

"Hong Kong is the largest airport in terms of cargo, so from a New Zealand perspective exporting, it is a major issue.

"If they are going to Hong Kong, then we have a problem, but if they are going to other parts, say into Europe, they will look for different ways for getting to Europe."

For those Kiwis living in or travelling to Hong Kong, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises they should "exercise increased caution", citing the civil unrest.