Airlines cancel flights, ferries halt services as Super Typhoon Mangkhut heads to Hong Kong and China

Debris scattered along a road after Typhoon Mangkhut hit the city of Tuguegarao in the Philippines, on Sept 15, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG, XINHUA) - Airlines across the region cancelled hundreds of flights on Saturday (Sept 15) as Super Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the Philippines and was set to disrupt travel from Hong Kong to Japan.

According to live updates on departing flights on Changi Airport website, four flights to the Philippines, Shenzhen and Hong Kong were delayed or cancelled on Saturday (Sept 15).

At least another 28 flights - mostly those heading to Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen - will be delayed or cancelled on Sunday (16 Sept) due to Mangkhut. Passengers are advised to check with their respective airlines, as well as the flight status page, for the latest updates.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. cancelled more than 400 flights over the next three days and warned of "serious disruptions" for air travellers as Mangkhut approaches Hong Kong.

The airline had said earlier it was cancelling all flights in and out of Hong Kong on Sunday beginning at 2.30am, and wouldn't resume operations until 4am the following day.

Cathay Dragon also won't be flying.

AirAsia Group had cancelled at least 22 flights as of Saturday morning, upsetting travellers from Manila to Shenzhen and Macau, according to a Facebook post.

Philippines Airlines scrapped 41 Saturday flights, including those to Hangzhou and Tokyo, it said on Facebook.

It will almost certainly get worse.

Mangkhut, which is being called the world's most powerful storm this year, ripped into the northern Philippines on Saturday as a Category 5 storm, bringing winds of up to 269kmh.

In southern China, ferry services in Qiongzhou Strait have been halted on Saturday morning as Mangkhut is approaching the provinces of Hainan and Guangdong, the local authorities said.

Mangkhut is expected to land in an area between western Guangdong and eastern Hainan on Sunday night, packing strong gales and bringing heavy downpours.

According to China's National Meteorological Centre, Mangkhut was moving north-westward at a speed of 26kmh at 8am, about 1,000km away from the city of Yangjiang, Guangdong province.

The provincial maritime administration has dispatched helicopters and tugboats to transfer 3,238 offshore platform workers and ordered 6,266 ships to take precautions against the typhoon.

Additional reporting by Janice Tai

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