Air Strike: China Airlines forced to cancel Hong Kong flights due to pilot strike in Taiwan

A China Airlines plane on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport in 2007. Photo via NagamasaAzai.
A China Airlines plane on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport in 2007. Photo via NagamasaAzai.

The litany of mishaps and inconveniences for air travelers flying in and out of Hong Kong got a little longer today as a China Airlines pilot’s strike in Taipei forced the carrier to cancel several flights today.

The China Airlines contingent of the Taoyuan Pilot’s Union had been demanding better pay and staffing changes to reduce pilot fatigue on longer flights, including by assigning additional pilots, but negotiations broke down earlier this week, according to the Taiwan News.

As a result, the union went on strike as of 6am today.

China Airlines CEO Hsieh Shih-chien said at an emergency press conference today that the company had initiated crisis response measures, noting that some 4,000 passengers could be affected by the strike.

According to an announcement on China Airlines’ website, six flights in and out of Hong Kong have been canceled today and tomorrow: four between Hong Kong and Taipei, and two between Hong Kong and Kaohsiung.

Air travel into and out of the SAR has almost seemed cursed in recent weeks. First a Hong Kong-bound flight out of New Jersey was forced to sit overnight on a frigid Canadian runway with no food after it was redirected in order to deal with a medical emergency, only to then suffer a technical issue.

More recently, a flight to London Heathrow found itself stalled on the tarmac at Hong Kong International after two of its tires were punctured as it pulled away from the gate. Passengers sat on board the aircraft — also without food — for more than seven hours waiting for repairs, only to be told that the flight was canceled.

With today’s flight cancellations, there are sure to be even more stressed-out travelers milling around Hong Kong International, but hey, at least they have yoga now.

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