Gulf Air suspends Hong Kong flights to prevent SARS virus spread
Gulf Air has announced that it will suspend flights to Hong Kong with effect from Friday, April 25' 2003. “This decision, which makes provision for a month-long suspension, will be evaluated in the light of new developments, and as additional information becomes available,” said James Hogan, Gulf Air’s president and chief executive.
“The health and safety of our passengers and crew is our prime concern, and we will take all necessary measures, for as long as it is required, to ensure that they are effectively protected against the SARS virus,” he added.
This suspension supports Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) directives and measures by government authorities in the airline’s owner states to prevent the spread of the SARS virus and ensure the safety and well being of the region’s residents.
Explaining how the suspension will impact travel, Fareed Al-Alawi, vice president Networks at Gulf Air said: “Effectively, for the period of the suspension, Gulf Air will not operate the sector between Bangkok and Hong Kong. To minimize disruptions and inconvenience to our passengers, we are finalizing arrangements with Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways to take up affected passengers and cargo on this part of the journey.”
He also added: “While flights to Singapore have not been suspended, the uplift is predominantly transit passengers from Jakarta and Australia, who are unaffected by the restrictions. We will, however, continue to monitor the situation to consider the safety of our passengers.”
Working in collaboration with Civil Aviation and Health Authorities, Gulf Air is taking steps to implement travel restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus, according to an airline press release.
In terms of the recently published directive, airlines disembarking passengers in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, will not be allowed to accept passengers who have visited the SARS affected countries of the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong or Singapore in the ten days prior to their planned arrival in the GCC countries. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)