Together with the three other rounds of relief measures introduced this year (namely the first and second rounds of Anti-epidemic Fund of HK$30 billion and HK$120 billion respectively, and the HK$120 billion relief package under The 2020-2021 Budget), the relief measures amount to HK$300 billion in total – the equivalent of 10% of Hong Kong’s GDP.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA or AAHK) is the statutory body (governed by the Airport Authority Ordinance (Cap. 483)) of the government of Hong Kong that is responsible for the operations of the Hong Kong International Airport.
The key components under the third round of Anti-epidemic Fund cover the following:
- Enhancement of anti-epidemic capability;
- Relief measures to businesses and individuals;
- Rental concessions, waivers of fees and charges and enhanced rates concession; and
- Enhancement of the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme.
The government will allocate HK$13 billion to enhance Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic capability, to be used mainly for:
- Procurement of vaccines;
- Providing subvention to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority to combat the epidemic;
- Enhancing the capacity of quarantine facilities, by engaging hotels as designated facilities and operating new quarantine centres in Penny’s Bay;
- Setting up quarantine centres for residents of residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities; and
- Subsidy scheme to promote contactless payment in public markets.
Relief measures to businesses and individuals
A total of HK4.5 billion will be allocated to provide relief to sectors and individuals hard-hit by the epidemic.
Relief mostly in the form of one-off subsidy or grant will be provided to 23 sectors which have been affected by the government’s anti-epidemic measures or hard-hit by the epidemic. Beneficiaries include:
- Catering, tourism, aviation & transport, sports and arts & culture;
- Child care centres and education;
- Cinemas, places of amusement, beauty parlours and massage establishments;
- Bathhouses, fitness centres, interest class instructors hired by subvented non-governmental welfare organisations, amusement game centres and club-houses;
- Bars / pubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises, party rooms and nightclubs;
- Companies in performing industry which organise pop concerts and places of public entertainment.
The Community Care Fund on 21 September 2020 announced the launch of the One-Off Allowance for New Arrivals from Low-income Families Programme, which will be open for application from 27 September to 31 December 2020. Under the programme, eligible persons will receive a one-off cash allowance of HK$10,000. The Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited will be the agent bank responsible for accepting applications and the disbursement of the allowance.
Beneficiaries should be aged 18 or above, have settled in Hong Kong for less than seven years as at 31 March 2021, and come from low-income family, i.e. they have passed the family/household-based means-test establishing eligbility for assistance under one of the specified assistance schemes.
SME Financing Guarantee Scheme
The government enhanced the Special 100% Loan Guarantee under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, which first started to receive applications in April 2020, and has the objective of easing cashflow issues of small and medium-sized enterprises.
In the previous round of relief fund, the maximum amount of loan per enterprise was the total amount of employee wages and rents for six months, or HK$4 million, whichever is lower. Under the latest round of relief fund, the maximum amount will be increased by raising the ceiling from the total amount of employee wages and rents for six months to that for 12 months, or HK$5 million, whichever is lower. The maximum repayment period will also increase from three to five years.
Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) says it made the move “in response to the ongoing challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic”.
This latest extension comes after AA previously extended its assistance measures for companies operating at the airport until at least October.
In August Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) announced a two-month extension of its assistance measures package for beleaguered companies operating at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
The coronavirus pandemic and continuing political unrest in Hong Kong had a huge impact on traffic at Hong Kong International Airport in 2020, with AAHK recently revealing that it only handled 96,000 passengers (-98.6%) and 9,870 aircraft movements (-73.2%) in July.
AAHK had restated its commitment to supporting retail and commercial tenants at HKIA in June, a month in which the airport authority also secured bank loans worth HK$35 billion/US$4.5 billion.
HKIA recommenced transfer/transit services for passengers from Mainland China on Saturday (15 August) until 15 October.
However, transfer/transit services to Mainland Chinese destinations will remain unavailable at HKIA.
According to AAHK in August most of the shops and restaurants in the terminal had suspended business and their rental waived. The base rent was waived for those that remain open to provide essential services.
During August, HKIA handled 84,000 passengers and 10,000 flight movements, representing respective year-on-year decreases of -98.6% and -72.0%.
On a 12-month rolling basis, passenger throughput and flight movements registered -60.6% and -42.0% year-on-year drops on numbers of 29.5 million and 248,285, respectively.
Other transfer/transit services resumed at the start of June flanked by enhanced coronavirus (Covid-19) safeguards.
Rental will continue to be waived for shops and restaurants that have suspended business. Meanwhile, for those retail and food & beverage operations that remain open to provide essential services, the base rent is waived, the airport authority said.
The continued relief measures include the following:
- Full waiver of parking charges for idle passenger aircraft and airbridge fees
- Reduction of passenger aircraft landing charges
- Fee reductions related to ramp handling, maintenance and airside vehicles
- Rental reduction for terminal tenants covering lounges and offices
- Fee waivers for terminal licencees, including ancillary passenger services, commercial services counters and cross-border transport operators
- Concessions on franchise fees for aviation support services such as into-plane fuelling
Also waived are the fees related to aircraft maintenance charges and fixed charges for inflight catering services, as well as rent for terminal tenants.
Passenger traffic fell by -98.6% year-on-year in August and was down by -83.2% in the first eight months.
AA will closely monitor the operating environment and provide necessary assistance to the airport community during these challenging times.