Flights to Hong Kong cancelled ahead of massive cyclone

  • 23/08/2017
Most flights operated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have been cancelled.
Most flights operated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have been cancelled. Photo credit: Reuters

The majority of flights in and out of Hong Kong on Wednesday have been cancelled as Tropical Cyclone Hato moves in.

Most flights operated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have been cancelled.

Air New Zealand delayed last night's outbound flight to Hong Kong until this morning due to the cyclone.

However, an Air New Zealand spokesperson said its flights scheduled to depart today will operate as normal.

Passengers are strongly advised to check the latest flight information on their airline's website.

Hong Kong is bracing for the severe storm, with other transport services, schools, and most businesses in the financial hub expected to be closed for most of the day.

The weather observatory issued its third-highest weather warning early in the morning (local time), saying Hato was expected to make landfall around 100km west of Hong Kong in the afternoon.

"If Hato edges even closer or intensifies, it will pose considerable threat to Hong Kong. The chance of issuing a higher signal cannot be ruled out," it said.

Streets were largely deserted and the observatory warned of serious flooding in low-lying areas as the city battened down for what could be one of its worst storms in years.

Winds intensified in the morning, with the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate's Cairn and Waglan Island at 77 and 72km/h, with maximum gusts of 103 and 86km/h, respectively.

There will be no trading in Hong Kong's financial markets on Wednesday morning if the typhoon signal remains at 8 or higher at 9am. Trading will be suspended for the whole day if the storm signal is still at 8 or higher at noon.

The city's flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, said the storm would "severely" impact flight operations, with the majority of flights to and from Hong Kong to be cancelled.

Other transport services including ferries to the gaming hub of Macau and outlying islands in Hong Kong were suspended.

The observatory said rough seas with swells were expected with maximum sustained wind speeds near Hato's centre of 120km/h.

Financial markets, schools, businesses and non-essential government services close when the signal is 8 or above.

Typhoon Nida was the last storm to close the stock exchange for the whole day in August last year.