Hong Kong International Airport, shuttered by protests, is the world’s eighth largest, as measured by passengers per year. In 2017, it handled 74,517,402, slightly fewer than London’s Heathrow. And it is the hub for travel across much of Asia.
Hong Kong is critical to traffic for several of the world’s largest airlines. As long as it is closed, it will affect their revenue and clog their systems, backing up both planes and passenger traffic. It is the home to Cathay Pacific and is a central airport for China Eastern Airlines. Singapore Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Air India, British Airways, American Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas and United: there are no alternative hubs for most of these carriers.
The airport could be closed for a long time. The Wall Street Journal said of the Hong Kong airport protests: “Outbound and inbound flights resumed Wednesday morning. Hong Kong’s airport authority said Wednesday it had secured a court injunction ‘to restrain persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing’ the airport’s activities.” However, the airport remains a major target for protestors, and it is likely it will be a center of disruption again.
The Wall Street Journal added:
The day’s spiraling violence showed how volatile the protests are becoming. Hong Kong authorities have begun to respond more severely, with business leaders and officials offering stronger support to quell the unrest as it starts to damage Hong Kong’s economy and its global reputation as a safe place to do business.
The major carriers that use the airport are not out of trouble.