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IATA warns demand may weaken if China stays shut next year

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Travellers queue up for shuttle bus to quarantine hotels at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China, on August 1, 2022.

The strength of the overall recovery in global airline passenger demand will be impacted if China continues to enforce tight border restrictions next year, the head of airline body IATA said on Wednesday.

International Air Transport Association Director General Willie Walsh told a conference in Doha that China’s zero-COVID policy had “devastated” Hong Kong, and caused it to lose its position as a global aviation hub.

Hong Kong, traditionally a major hub where passengers transit between international flights and on journeys to China, is the base of airline Cathay Pacific.