The protests in Hong Kong have led to a dramatic short-term drop in flight bookings from Asia, according to a new report from ForwardKeys. Based on the company’s analysis of over 17 million flight bookings, the demonstrations have caused a 20.2 percent stall in flight bookings from Asia for the eight-week period from June 16 to August 9, a period which includes a general strike on June 16, the siege of police headquarters, the storming of the Legislative Council building on July 1 and a city-wide strike that caused a number of flight cancellations and light rail disruptions.
From June 16 – 29, bookings fell 9 percent, ForwardKeys said, followed by a decline of 2.2 percent from June 30 – July 13. Over the following 27 days, from July 14 – August 9, bookings fell even further, by 33.4 percent. ForwardKeys said that the protests have reversed a positive travel trend that saw bookings rise 6.6 percent for the first six and a half months of the year versus the previous year.
ForwardKeys noted that the bookings data excludes China and Taiwan because a fall in bookings from those destinations in the latter part of June could also be explained by the timing of the Dragon Boat Festival, which fell 11 days earlier this year than it did in 2018.
“The situation in Hong Kong has deteriorated substantially in the past eight weeks and particularly so in the past four,” said ForwardKeys Spokesperson David Tarsh in a written statement. “During June and early July, ForwardKeys saw no decline in long-haul bookings to Hong Kong; however, that is no longer the case.”
Tarsh said that from June 16 to August 9 long-haul bookings to Hong Kong are down 4.7 percent year-over-year, and he also noted that the data does not yet include the events of this week, when protestors have shut down Hong Kong’s airport entirely. The airport has been shut down for Monday and Tuesday as thousands of protestors occupy the terminal building and blocked gates; a number of airlines have issued travel waivers for customers affected by the situation.