Authorities to Hong Kong Airlines: Fix your finances or get the ax

Dec 2, 2019

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Hong Kong Airlines has been struggling financially for some time, and now authorities in the city are threatening to suspend its operating license if the company doesn’t stabilize its books by the end of the week.

Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority (ALTA) said the airline must receive a cash infusion and prove it can maintain a certain cash level by Dec. 7.

“After careful consideration of the financial position of HKA [Hong Kong Airlines] at present, ATLA must take immediate and resolute action to prevent further deterioration of HKA’s situation in order to protect public interests,” a spokesman for the authority said in a statement.

The deterioration of Hong Kong Airlines’ financial position was accelerated by ongoing anti-Chinese protests, which have reduced travel demand to its namesake and home city. After receiving an update on the company’s finances from its senior executives on Nov. 29, ALTA said that it was not confident that the airline could pay its employees’ salaries or continue to provide satisfactory service to its passengers.

Related: When to Buy Travel Insurance Versus When to Rely on Credit Card Protections

The airline had previously cut routes to a number of cities, including Los Angeles and Vancouver. And, according to the South China Morning Post, it also had to turn off its inflight entertainment after failing to pay the vendor.

Last week, TPG reported some staff members weren’t being paid.

Although Hong Kong Airlines said its operations will continue to run normally, flyers traveling on the carrier should consider precautions — especially for flights beyond Dec. 7.

Consider travel insurance and double check what travel protections are offered by the credit card you used to book the trip.

This post has been updated to reflect that the travel rebooking service Freebird is only available for domestic U.S. itineraries.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

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