Dubai: Dubai's Emirates has cancelled flights to Hong Kong due to severe weather conditions caused by Super Typhoon Saola.
China issued its highest typhoon warning on Thursday as Super Typhoon Saola drew closer to Hong Kong and the mainland's southern coast, with multiple cities delaying the start of the school year as a precaution. Saola's wind speeds topped 200 kilometres (125 miles) per hour as of 6 pm (1000 GMT) on Thursday, with the storm around 370 kilometres southeast of the Chinese finance hub, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
As stated on its website, the airline has announced the cancellation of flights scheduled for September 1 and 2 departing from Dubai.
The list of cancelled flights is as follows:
- EK380 on September 1 and EK381 on September 2
- EK384 DXB‑HKG and BKK‑HKG on September 1
- EK385 HKG‑DXB and HKG‑BKK on September 1
"Customers connecting to Hong Kong will not be accepted for travel at the point of origin until further notice," said Emirates on its website.
The airline asked affected customers who have booked with travel agents to contact them for alternative travel arrangements.
Air traffic disruption
Cathay Pacific Airways also expects to suspend flights starting Friday afternoon through Saturday morning because of the typhoon, according to a person familiar with the situation. The airline expects significant disruptions at Hong Kong International Airport and is working to keep aircraft out of the city for a period of time, according to Bloomberg.
Hong Kong is making preparations for a possible direct hit by the typhoon, which is shaping up to be the strongest storm to affect the city in at least five years.
The city will raise its No. 8 storm warning as early as 2 a.m. on Friday "- effectively closing down the city including its $5 trillion stock market "- and schools will be shut, Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki said at a press briefing Thursday afternoon. Chan Pak-wai, director of the local observatory, said the no. 8 signal will probably be kept on Saturday and may even be raised to the highest level "- no. 10.
Typhoon Saola has the potential to be the most powerful typhoon to hit Hong Kong since Mangkhut battered the city in 2018, which left roads blocked, buildings damaged and low-lying areas flooded. Saola earlier skirted past the Philippines and Taiwan. The latest forecast track has the eye of the typhoon passing over the southern part of the city either late Friday or early Saturday.