The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are continuously evolving. We’ll be updating this page regularly with breaking news to help APEX members and others stay up-to-date on how the novel coronavirus is impacting the aviation industry. You can also subscribe to the APEX Daily Experience to receive the latest coronavirus updates and other industry news in your inbox.
Since three US airports began screening for the coronavirus in late January, APEX Media has been covering all coronavirus-related developments affecting the aviation industry. Our sources range from exclusive insights courtesy of our extensive network of members to stories reported by trusted media outlets.
Interim Guidance for Airlines and Airline Crew: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Travel Advice – World Health Organization (WHO)
Real-Time Coronavirus Outbreak Tracker – Worldometer
DOT Eases CARES Act Requirements
Yesterday the US Department of Transport made the contingencies of the CARES Act less rigid. Originally, airlines receiving aid were to continue serving domestic destinations they had been serving on March 1. The date has now shifted to the last week of February or the first week of August 2019, after airlines highlighted that seasonal services vary throughout the year. The DOT also made a change that will make it easier for small carriers to qualify for funding. For previously served destinations that meet certain criteria in terms of frequency of operations, American, Delta, Southwest and United will be required to maintain at least five flights per week to each destination, while the remainder of US airlines only need to maintain a minimum of three weekly flights to each destination.
Wuhan Airport Reopens, Lufthansa Closes Germanwings
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport opened its doors for the first time since January 23, when authorities put the territory on lockdown in an attempt to fend off COVID-19. Travelers can now freely enter or leave the region provided they demonstrate no symptoms. The virus has lessened its grip over China and is wreaking havoc over other nations, leaving airlines in dire straits. Lufthansa Group will retire or decommission 42 aircraft across its main brand and subsidiaries Lufthansa CityLine and Eurowings. It is also discontinuing Germanwings’ operations. The group has held talks with the German government on providing liquidity, and is reportedly working on a package to raise money from the debt and equity markets.
Airlines Slash Flights to New York
New York has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, with 35% of cases concentrated in the state. John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports decided to operate only eight hours daily due to large reductions in demand. United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, jetBlue and Spirit Airlines have drastically reduced their capacity in the area, with the latest announcement coming from American Airlines cutting service by 90%. The majority of New York’s arriving air passengers are medical first responders. United is flying medics into New York for free.
Long Road Ahead to Rebuild European Aviation Industry
IATA’s latest analysis shows that 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis, including 5.6 million in Europe. Eurocontrol has agreed to defer airline payments of up to $1.2 billion in European air navigation fees. EasyJet confirmed last night that it had secured a $740 million loan from the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, and drew down $500 million from its revolving credit facility. More than 250 organisations from 25 countries have published an open letter criticizing governments for providing airlines with financial assistance without social and environmental conditions embedded.
Feds Mandate Refunds as Airlines Propose Creative Credit Schemes
The US Department of Transportation reaffirmed the requirement for airlines to issue refunds when flights are canceled. United Airlines and jetBlue have previously insisted that mass flight disruptions resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 amount to exceptional circumstances, and were reluctant to issue refunds. American Airlines is currently offering travel vouchers worth 120% of the value of the ticket alongside the traditional refund option. United recently amended its frequent flyer program to extend members’ status until January 31, 2022. Delta made a similar announcement, extending benefits for SkyMiles Medallion members until 2021. Delta is also extending its rebooking window to up to two years for customers booked for travel through the end of May.
Russia Bans Travel, UAE Gradually Lifts Restrictions
There are now over 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 around the world, over 6,000 of which are in Russia. On Friday, the country banned all inbound and outbound flights, even repatriation missions, as it seeks to limit the spread of infection. An Aeroflot flight from Moscow to New York was canceled on Friday at the very last minute and left passengers stranded. Emirates and Etihad Airways have resumed some flights to Europe and Asia only for foreign citizens who wish to leave the UAE; incoming travelers are not allowed. Meanwhile, Boeing announced that it would extend the temporary suspension of widebody jet production in Puget Sound, Washington, to protect the health of its employees.
How COVID-19 Could Change Air Travel Forever, According to FTE
APEX’s Future Travel Experience (FTE) has painted a heavily researched picture of what air travel may look like following the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the predictions are new queuing rules, enhanced aircraft cleaning procedures and an ever-more important role for airline apps. As travelers become wary of touching surfaces, from check-in kiosks to in-flight entertainment screens, there is an opportunity for an airline’s app to act as a remote control. Last week, FTE announced that it is adapting to the new work-from-home reality by hosting virtual events in the coming months.
Alitalia Receives $540M in Government Aid
After providing multiple bailouts and announcing plans to take over Alitalia, the Italian government is injecting another $540 million into the airline. Alitalia is the only airline in Italy operating under a public service obligation agreement, and thus will be the sole recipient of funding. Air Dolomiti, Blue Panorama and Neos claim they should also be receiving a share of this financial assistance. The government plans to eventually shrink Alitalia’s 113-aircraft fleet to a maximum of 70 to save on costs. Alitalia will also furlough an additional 2,900 employees until October 31, which amounts to half of its workforce.
Qantas Axes IFE, Wi-Fi and More to Cut Costs
Qantas has shut off its free high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi in order to cut costs as it grapples with an 80% reduction in capacity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Australian flag carrier also pulled the plug on its in-flight entertainment offering of over 1,000 hours of content to avoid monthly licensing fees. Both Qantas and Virgin Australia nixed free meals on all flights, scaling back the offering to a complimentary bottle of water and snack. This move also helps limit the spread of germs.
More Reductions Across LATAM, Cathay and Ryanair
April brings more cuts to LATAM Airlines Group and Cathay Pacific. LATAM announced a 95% reduction in operations for the month, and said it would not operate any flights to or from Europe. Chief commercial officer Roberto Alvo assumed the role of CEO on March 31, after the change was announced in September. Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific is planning on cutting capacity by 97% as its passenger numbers are markedly down. Ryanair has cut all pay by 50% for April and May, as the airline is currently operating less than 20 flights a day, compared with a usual schedule of more than 2,500. Starting Monday, London Heathrow will only operate one runway at a time. The airport receives 41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical products.
EASA Recommends Less A/C in Cabin
Aircraft operators should regularly turn off recirculation fans to accelerate internal and external air exchange. This would limit the potential spread of coronavirus, according to a recent bulletin published by European Union Aviation Safety Agency. The document also suggests that surgical masks should be worn at all times by crew members having direct contact with passengers and recommends spacing passengers throughout the cabin. Airlines should support passenger-tracing and epidemiological investigation measures if the presence of coronavirus on a flight is confirmed.
IAMA Sets Up Virtual Think Tank to Ease COVID-19-Related Challenges
The Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance (IAMA) has launched a virtual think tank, called IAMA VTT, to help airlines and lessors maintain the airworthiness and safety of their aircraft in anticipation of their return to service after the COVID-19 crisis is over. As part of IAMA VTT, the alliance will host a series of virtual discussions and give alliance members, airlines and lessors access to an online catalog of crisis-related products and services. “IAMA members are experiencing the effects of COVID-19, and we want to help the aviation industry get past this situation by offering our significant technical resources to facilitate crisis resolution,” said Marc Pinault, IAMA chairman and CEO of Eclipse and Eclipse Technics.
FTE Updates 2020 Schedule, Adds Virtual Events
Future Travel Experience, part of the APEX family, has adapted its schedule for upcoming events in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FTE EMEA/Ancillary is cancelled, FTE Global is postponed until December and FTE APEX ASIA EXPO will go ahead as planned in November. Other changes include complimentary registration options for airlines and airports, as well as the addition of several virtual events, including two focused on solutions for dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry.
AIX Closes Doors on 2020 Show
Due to the continued escalation of COVID-19 globally, Reed Exhibitions has announced that the next edition of Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), as well as the adjoining World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Passenger Experience Conference, will now take place April 12-15, 2021, in Hamburg. All registrations for the 2020 events will be canceled. Katie Murphy, portfolio director at Reed Exhibitions, cited the “ongoing uncertainty in the industry and the immense pressure” faced by exhibitors as the main factors in the decision. Organizers said they are intent on keeping event participants connected over the coming months.
US Flight Attendants Decry Federal Airline Ownership
In a letter addressed to the Treasury Department, various US flight attendant unions raised a flag about a clause in the CARES Act that gives the government the option to gain equity from airlines in exchange for grants. They say that such a condition could dissuade airlines from accepting grant money and put their jobs at risk. Meanwhile, British Airways will be suspending 36,000 staff, Oman Air permanently terminated hundreds of cabin crew, SriLankan Airlines is suspending all operations for nearly two weeks and Vietnam is suspending all passenger flights to the country until April 15.
Boeing, Southwest Continue Downsizing
To prepare for a possibly lengthy contraction in demand for Boeing’s products as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Dave Calhoun said the company will roll out a voluntary layoff plan “that allows eligible employees who want to exit the company to do so with a pay and benefits package.” Wide-body jetliner production could tumble by 60% over the next three years, and a potential grounding of US domestic flights, which President Donald Trump said he was pondering, would exacerbate the situation. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines announced its intention to apply for federal aid, joining American Airlines. Southwest deepened its capacity cuts to 40% from May through June.
German Government Could Take Over Condor, Own Stake in Lufthansa
With the plan for LOT Polish Airlines to purchase Frankfurt-based Condor Airlines likely to fall through, Germany may move to nationalize the airline. Sources familiar with the matter said that LOT has issues with the deal financing, and Germany would sell the airline once the COVID-19 pandemic eases. In January, LOT agreed to buy Condor for $328 million. Reuters also reports that Lufthansa is in talks with the German government to give up equity in exchange for billions of euros in state aid. The airline has moved 87,000 crew and ground staff to reduced working hours.
APEX Supports Members Applying for CARES Stimulus Funds
APEX has reached out to all of its member companies, highlighting important financial assistance information and deadlines released by the US Treasury Department yesterday. As part of the CARES Act, up to $53 billion in funds and loans are available to eligible companies in the air travel sector. “APEX/IFSA members reaching out personally to Congress deserve our deepest thanks,” said APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader. “The US CARES Act provides a vital lifeline to airlines, suppliers and businesses that we hope other governments around the world follow.”
Relations Between US Airline Stakeholders Turbulent
IATA’s latest analysis reveals that “airlines cannot cut costs fast enough to stay ahead of the impact” of COVID-19, and predicts tens of billions of dollars in losses during the second quarter. IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac praised the countries that have allowed airlines to issue travel vouchers instead of refunds, while several US senators have lambasted domestic airlines for doing just that. One stipulation of the CARES Act is that airlines accepting aid cannot reduce workforces before September 30, but some workers at Delta, United and American who are having their hours and pay reduced are describing the cuts as effectively the same as furloughs.
European Companies Unite to Fight Coronavirus
The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, consisting of aerospace, automotive and medical businesses across the UK, has been formed to expedite ventilator production for the National Health Service, which has ordered 10,000 units. The participating aerospace companies include Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Meggitt, Renishaw and Thales. Airbus’ facilities in Spain have pivoted to producing 3-D-printed visor frames for healthcare professionals. The EU announced that airport slot requirements, which oblige airlines to use at least 80% of their takeoff and landing slots in order to keep them the following year, will be suspended until October 24.
US Airlines Suggest Cash Disbursement Scheme
In a letter addressed to the US Treasury, US airline executives urged the government to release the $58 billion in loans and grants earmarked for them, which form part of the $2-trillion stimulus package, as soon as possible. Treasury faces an April 1 deadline to issue procedures to airlines to apply for grants. The airline executives suggested that grants be allocated based on salaries and benefits paid by carriers from April 1 through September 30, 2019, while loans be divided by each carrier’s pro rata share of “system available seat miles” for 2019 operations. Airlines that benefit from the stimulus package must continue flying to each destination they serve, and airline executives are reportedly considering consolidating operations in smaller markets to avoid flying nearly-empty planes.
Virgin Australia Wants Bailout, Emirates Will Receive One
While Virgin Australia claims it has enough cash on reserve to weather a six-month restricted travel situation, it is also warning the government that it may eventually need a $1.4-billion loan. Cognizant of the fact that the Australian government “can’t pick winners and losers,” Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah outlined a comprehensive support plan in which Qantas, with three-times-higher revenue, would receive $4.2 billion in support. The government of Dubai announced it would inject funding into Emirates, which suspended passenger operations this month. Further details have yet to be announced, and it is unclear if flydubai would also receive government assistance.
Companies Continue to Scale Back, While Some Resume Critical Operations
While Airbus was forced to wind down its production in Spain until April 9 as a result of government measures restricting non-essential activity, the airframer still managed to operate an air-bridge flight from Madrid to China. It sent an Airbus A330-200 tanker to collect over four million face masks to be donated to health systems in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Embraer has resumed critical operations in Brazil. Employees have been on paid leave since March 24. Air Canada temporarily laid off 16,500 employees as part of a cost-reduction plan, while Lufthansa will introduce part-time working for cabin, ground staff and management in Frankfurt and Munich.
Companies Donate Resources to Frontline Medical Effort
Furloughed staff at Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are being encouraged by their employers to donate their time at temporary critical care field hospitals (known as Nightingale Hospitals), which are being set up in the UK to help the fight against coronavirus. Duties would include changing beds, tending to patients and assisting doctors and nurses. Meanwhile, Monty’s Bakehouse employees are staffing the kitchen in the East Surrey Hospital and preparing hot snacks for frontline workers. Qatar Airways, one of the few airlines that has maintained its scheduled commercial passenger services, announced it would eventually need government support. The airline reported last week that it is donating $150 million to support United Nations efforts to help combat the coronavirus outbreak in the Gaza Strip.
After Hundreds of Repatriation Flights, EasyJet Grounds Fleet
After performing over 650 “rescue flights” over the last two weeks, easyJet will proceed to ground its fleet of 340 aircraft indefinitely. The company’s decision is part of a cost-cutting plan intended to mitigate the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to national lockdowns across Europe. EasyJet cabin crew will be furloughed for two months and, thanks to government intervention, will retain 80% of their salary. In another statement, the airline’s founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou threatened to fire one board member every seven weeks unless a $5.6-billion order of new aircraft from Airbus was canceled.
Airlines Request Exceptions to Refund Rule
According to European legislation, airlines are required to issue refunds to travelers affected by canceled flights. But due to financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many airlines are suspending refunds or dealing with them on a case-by-case basis. IATA is suggesting that regulators allow vouchers to be distributed instead of refunds. Airlines UK agrees, and added that “carriers should be permitted to defer [refunds] until the crisis period is over and as defined by air traffic volumes, rather than time period.” The Canadian Transportation Agency recommended adopting the voucher solution for the benefit of the “operational realities” of the country’s airlines.
Singapore and United Airlines Secure Major Loans
Singapore Airlines’ majority shareholder, government-owned Temasek Holdings, said it would underwrite the sale of shares and convertible bonds for over $10 billion. DBS Group Holdings, Singapore’s largest bank, also provided a $2.8-billion loan to the airline. This financing package is the largest provided to any airline since the COVID-19 outbreak caused travel demand to plunge. While Singapore Airlines has cut its capacity by 96%, investors were confident that the company was well-positioned for growth beyond the current crisis. Meanwhile, United Airlines will borrow $500 million from Goldman Sachs Bank in the form of a one-year secured term loan.
China Sets Limits on Flights, Entries
The Civil Aviation Administration of China will enforce new travel restrictions on March 29. Chinese airlines may only operate one international route once per week, while foreign airlines are allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight. Starting Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will prohibit foreign nationals and non-Chinese citizens from entering the country, even those who have a valid visa or residency permit. The moves come as China is experiencing an increase in the amount of imported cases of COVID-19. All but one of 55 new cases reported in China yesterday originated overseas, stoking fears of a second major outbreak in the country.
Senate Earmarks $58B in Relief Funds for Aviation Industry
Last night, every member of the US Senate voted in favor of enacting a $2-trillion coronavirus relief package. A total of $58 billion has been earmarked for the aviation industry, with $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees going to passenger airlines and an additional $25 billion going to grants to pay workers through September. Cargo air carriers have been allotted $8 billion in relief funds. Furthermore, a list of companies critical to maintaining national security will receive $17 billion in loans; Boeing is reportedly on that list. The aid package prohibits stock buybacks and share dividends for at least a year after the loans have been repaid and restricts executive compensation.
Several Airlines Trade Passenger Capacity for Cargo
Shuttered borders and strict health ordinances in the face of the COVID-19 crisis have led to a stark reduction in business and leisure travel for airlines. But they are also facing an upswing in demand on the cargo side of their operations. With their freighters full, many airlines are deploying more passenger aircraft than usual to make up the difference and deliver essential goods. American Airlines recently flew its first cargo-only flight since 1984, while United Airlines is using its Boeing 777 and 787 fleet to run 40 charter flights each week. Etihad Airways, Air Canada and Aeroméxico have announced similar moves, while Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and LATAM have even been loading up passenger seats with cargo.
Qatar Airways Presses A380 Back Into Service to Meet Repatriation Demand
With the grounding of Emirates and Etihad Airways, as well as widespread travel bans in cities around the world, Qatar Airways finds itself in the unique situation of increasing its service. Qatar is now focused on getting travelers home from over 70 destinations linked via its hub at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, which remains open to passengers in transit. With a steady increase in bookings this week, Qatar has ungrounded its fleet of A380s. The jumbo jets are being deployed on key routes including London, Frankfurt and Paris. “I don’t think any of us imagined a week ago that we’d be putting the A380s back in the air,” said CCO Simon Talling-Smith.
US Senators Iron Out $2T Stimulus Deal, UK Holds Back Funding for Airlines
The White House and Senate have agreed on a $2-trillion stimulus plan aimed at easing the economic burden posed by the coronavirus in the US. Details of the bill, the largest relief package in American history, are expected to be revealed once it passes. In a statement released yesterday, IATA reaffirmed the urgent need for governments to provide financial support, loans and tax relief to airlines as it estimated annual passenger revenue will fall by $252 billion – more than double its initial prediction – if travel restrictions remain in place for three months. UK chancellor Rishi Sunak took a contradictory stance yesterday, telling airlines to find funding elsewhere and only turn to the government as “a last resort.”
Latest Airline Cuts
WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline, announced that 6,900 of its 14,000 employees are being laid off, with 90% leaving voluntarily to support the company’s survival. Air Transat also announced temporary layoffs in effect for 70% of its staff. Alaska Airlines will cut 200 flights per day through March and park 30 jets, out of its mainline fleet of about 230 aircraft, until further notice. GoAir will cut salary for all of its employees for the month of March, mirroring similar moves made by Air India and IndiGo after India grounded all domestic flights. In a new round of debt funding, Qantas obtained a 10-year, $625-million loan secured against seven Boeing 787-9s.
Senate Stimulus Bill Expected to Pass Soon
Partisan bickering gave way to progress as representatives on Capitol Hill negotiated a bill that could inject $2 trillion into the US economy. Financial aid for the airline industry was one of the topics of the negotiation, which lasted until midnight last night. Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the Democrats’ version of a stimulus package that would dole out $37 billion in grants and $21 billion in loans to carriers. Airline contractors would receive $3 billion for payroll support grants, while airports would collect $10 billion in grant funding. In exchange, airlines receiving aid would have to start offsetting their carbon emissions in 2025 and reduce their overall emissions by 50% by 2050. Whether these requirements end up in the final version of the bill remains to be seen.
Airlines Continue to Pare Back Schedules
Flydubai, Aegean Airlines, Turkish Airlines and KLM are among the latest carriers to adjust their schedules as a result of a COVID-19 containment policy. As of Thursday, Flydubai will suspend all operations and Aegean Airlines will ground all international flights. Turkish Airlines will pause almost all international flights from March 27 until April 17; flights to New York, Washington, Hong Kong, Moscow and Addis Ababa are exempt. KLM will operate flights to 57 destinations at 10% capacity from March 29 until May 3. Based on the extrapolation of China’s three-month viral containment experience, Ryanair foresees the grounding of all its flights in April and May.
Experts Create Coronavirus Flight Cancellation Tracker
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, members of the aviation community are volunteering their efforts toward disseminating valuable data. What started as a mechanism to track flight cancellations on a route-by-route basis quickly evolved into a comprehensive spreadsheet listing the capacity cuts of the world’s major airlines. “We’ve heard from large and small aviation-related companies as well as individuals that have used the information to help guide their planning,” said Seth Miller, APEX Media contributor and founder of PaxEx.aero.
APEX and IFSA Urge Suppliers to Contact Congress About Financial Aid
APEX and IFSA are encouraging airline vendors and suppliers to reach out to the US government today to secure financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, which so far appears to be allotted primarily to airlines. “Every call to every lawmaker in your area makes a huge difference,” said APEX/IFSA CEO Joe Leader. The associations are already actively reaching out to the Trump administration and congressional leadership themselves with letters that argue, “Without government support, thousands of jobs will be lost, and many suppliers will not survive to be in a position to support the industry’s recovery.”
Branson Invests in Virgin, Sabre Makes Cuts and Airbus Resumes Activity
Richard Branson’s host of companies in the travel sectors are in a battle for their survival, according to the business magnate. In order to protect 70,000 jobs at Virgin Group, which includes the largely grounded Virgin Atlantic airline, Branson is injecting $250 million. Meanwhile, Sabre announced a plan to cut costs in the face of “challenges beyond what has been experienced before,” according to CEO Sean Menke. The cuts range from offering voluntary unpaid leave, severance and early retirement to staff across the world to scaling back its third-party contracting and vendor costs. As for Airbus, production in France and Spain will resume as planned after implementing stringent antiviral measures.
UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong Will Ban Visitors
Singapore and Hong Kong will ban all transit passengers and visitors starting March 24 and 25, respectively. The United Arab Emirates will adopt these measures and suspend all passenger flights into and out of its territory as well, starting March 25. Such measures have a crippling effect on flag carriers. Singapore Airlines announced it will cut 96% of capacity until the end of April, while Emirates and Etihad Airways have completely grounded their fleets. The latest statistics reveal that local transmission of COVID-19 in these countries are trending downward, while imported cases are behind the uptick in infection rates.
China Airlines Mandates Face Masks for Passengers
Due to what the airline is labeling epidemic prevention measures, China Airlines is requiring all travelers to wear face masks beginning at check-in. They can only be removed during the flight when eating or drinking. Also, all travelers will have their temperature taken; those with a forehead temperature above 99.5°F will not be allowed to board. The airline claims that these measures will help protect the health of passengers and crew.
Governments Worldwide Begin Assisting Cash-Strapped Airlines
Yesterday the US Senate proposed loans destined for the airline industry amounting to $58 billion. Emphasizing that the package does not constitute a bailout, the government could receive warrants, stock options, or stock as a condition of assistance. In Northern Europe, three countries have earmarked funds for national airlines. Norway offered $537 million in loan guarantees, with half available to Norwegian Air; Finland’s government has provisionally agreed to provide a state guarantee of up to $642 million to assist flag-carrier Finnair; and Sweden approved a proposal to issue credit guarantees of up to $488 million to airlines, of which 30% will be allocated to Scandinavian Airlines. Air New Zealand has also secured standby funding of up to $511 million.
Delta Increases Cuts to 70%, Cathay Suspends 96% of Flights
In an unprecedented move for the company, Delta Air Lines will cut capacity by 70% “until demand starts to recover.” Half of Delta’s fleet, comprising more than 600 aircraft, will be grounded. In a memo, CEO Ed Bastian expressed gratitude to the roughly 10,000 Delta employees who have taken voluntary leave and encouraged more workers to do the same. The stark drop in travel demand and increasing number of travel restrictions have hampered Cathay Pacific even more significantly – the airline will cut 96% of flights in April and May. After announcing the suspension of most international and US flights, Air Canada decided to temporarily lay off more than half of its 9,750 flight attendants.
Qantas Initiates Unpaid Leave Until End of May for Two-Thirds of Employees
The Australian government’s decision to close its borders to foreign visitors has left Qantas little choice but to suspend all international flights. With 150 aircraft in its fleet grounded, the company instituted a period of unpaid leave until the end of May for two-thirds of its 30,000 employees, who may draw from their leave balances in the interim. Senior management and board members will no longer take a salary. CEO Alan Joyce acknowledged that these “difficult decisions” were necessary for the survival of the airline, currently grappling with an unprecedented drop in demand. “Our strong balance sheet means we’ve entered this crisis in better shape than most and we’re taking action to make sure we can ride this out,” he stated.
More Countries Lock Down Borders
Mirroring recent moves made by Australia and other countries, Taiwan and New Zealand have closed their borders to foreigners. Taiwan hopes to reduce its uptick in imported COVID-19 cases; it is experiencing a slower rate of local transmission. In a statement, IATA echoed APEX’s call for government aid during this crisis, specifically appealing to governments in Africa and the Middle East to provide emergency support to airlines as they “fight for survival.” Chicago’s Midway International Airport is facing hundreds of cancellations after several air traffic control technicians tested positive for COVID-19. JetBlue announced it will cut 40% of its capacity, and Allegiant Air will cut 35%. For Americans who have not been able to renew their driver’s licenses, the TSA is allowing the use of expired licenses as acceptable identification.
Boeing Calls for $60B for US Aerospace Manufacturing Sector
Boeing is seeking at least $60 billion in government aid for the aerospace manufacturing industry, which it says will be one of the most significant ways to help airlines, airports, suppliers and manufacturers remain in good financial standing as the coronavirus further strains their businesses and puts 2.5 million jobs at risk. Boeing’s request comes the same day President Donald Trump pledged to assist Boeing and travel-related industries. Some countries have already mobilized aviation industry relief funding. Today, Australia pledged $430 million in a package that involves fee waivers on aviation fuel excise, domestic airline operations charges and regional aviation security charges. Meanwhile, Taiwan will make nearly $1 billion in subsidies and loans available to carriers. Singapore and China have already rolled out similar measures.
Trans States Airlines Folds Earlier Than Anticipated
Regional carrier Trans States Airlines is the first US airline to fold due to the impact of COVID-19. While the company had said at the end of February that it would be entering its last year of operations, current circumstances have forced it to announce that it will halt operations on April 1. The US and Canada have finalized a deal to close their shared border to non-essential travel. Canadian airline WestJet announced it would suspend all international flights as of March 22, while Sunwing Airlines and Air Transat plan to suspend all operations. Overseas, Brussels Airlines revealed it will suspend all operations from March 24 to April 19, and Virgin Australia will only fly domestic between March 30 and June 14.
APEX Calls for $250B in Government Support for Aviation Industry
APEX is advocating that $250 billion be issued in global government support for the aviation industry, with 80% going directly to airlines and 20% allocated to airline suppliers. The call both endorses and builds upon a proposal from Airlines for America for $58 billion in financial support for airlines in the United States ($50B for passenger carriers and $8B for cargo carriers). “The economic impact on the global airline industry already surpasses the economic events of 2001 and 2008 combined,” explained APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader. “Global governments must react in a coordinated manner to support their airlines in each nation.”
US Mulls Domestic Travel Ban
With the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US having grown to nearly 3,500, the US department of Homeland Security is considering a ban on domestic flights. The details, including its length and start date, have yet to be ironed out. The ban would not apply to cargo planes, which IATA noted yesterday were “essential” in the efforts to curb the pandemic and deliver medicines, medical equipment and other supplies. American commercial carriers that bolstered their balance sheets after the last important recession may be better prepared for a shutdown, according to Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research. He stresses that government aid will prove crucial to avoid bankruptcy.
EU Considers Widespread Border Closures
Yesterday, the president of the European Commission proposed a 30-day ban on nonessential incoming foreign travel for a month. Ursula von der Leyen asked 30 countries, along with Britain and Ireland, to sign off on the proposal, one of the strictest coordinated efforts aimed at containing the virus. The Airport Operators Association fears that some UK airports could shut down within weeks unless the government comes through with rescue funding and cuts taxes, fees and other costs. Qantas and subsidiary Jetstar, Norwegian and LATAM have all drastically reduced their flight schedules. Airbus announced it would halt production at its French and Spanish facilities, including its main Toulouse assembly line, for four days as it implements stricter hygiene measures.
US Airlines Feel Pinch of Social Distancing
Over the weekend, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for a period of two weeks. United Airlines’ top two executives said that running an airline is “nearly impossible” under such circumstances, and planned to cut its capacity by half over the next two months. American Airlines also announced it would cut 75% of its international capacity through May 6, while keeping its short-haul schedule intact. The US travel ban on Europe, which went into effect at midnight last Friday, has been expanded to include foreign nationals arriving from Britain and Ireland. US residents seeking entry from the affected nations would be required to self-quarantine for a period of two weeks.
Flight Cancellations Deepen Around the World
The coronavirus pandemic continues to put global airlines to the test. Ryanair and easyJet announced major cuts to their flight schedules, but both companies noted that their balance sheets are strong enough to survive the effects of the pandemic on travel demand. The Danish and Latvian governments have enforced lockdowns of their borders, prompting Scandinavian Airlines to halt almost all traffic and airBaltic to cease all flights. Austrian Airlines announced it will cancel all flights until at least March 28. IAG Group chief executive Willie Walsh announced he will not retire in ten days as expected in order to allow his successor, Luis Gallego, the opportunity to steer Iberia through the crisis for the next few months.
US Travel Ban on EU — Airlines Cap Soaring Fares
The US government’s suspension of travel from most of Europe caused demand for flights, and ticket prices, to skyrocket as foreign nationals on both sides of the Atlantic tried to get home during the short time between the President’s announcement and the start of the ban. In response to the issue, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines each announced they would cap fares affected by the travel suspension to about $1,000. The ban does not apply to US citizens, but Americans returning from Europe must pass through one of eleven Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved airports. Yesterday, American Airlines announced it would further cut flights, reducing international capacity by 34% during the peak summer travel season, including a 50% reduction in transatlantic capacity for the month of April.
IATA: Airlines Need Crisis Assistance During Outbreak
In response to the US travel ban on Europe, IATA warned of wide-ranging economic fallout. Director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac noted that airlines will suffer “enormous cash-flow pressure” and that governments need to explore extending lines of credit, reducing infrastructure costs and lightening taxes to avoid a “sectoral financial crisis.” Norway has moved to suspend its airline taxes and passenger fees. Feeling the effects of a cash crunch, Air France-KLM has withdrawn $1.2 billion available from its revolving credit facility. In Australia, the government warned citizens to avoid all but essential overseas travel as COVID-19 continues to spread. Virgin Australia will further pare back its domestic services by 7% in the final quarter, from April to June.
US Bans Travel From 26 European Countries
Starting tomorrow, those seeking entry into the US who have been in the Schengen Area up to 14 days prior will be denied access. The 30-day ban was stipulated in a presidential proclamation made yesterday that addressed the COVID-19 pandemic. It noted that the Schengen Area currently has the largest number of confirmed cases outside of China, and the free flow of people in the area makes it difficult to contain the disease’s spread. ACI Europe, which represents the continent’s several hundred airports, has warned that the pandemic will cause them to go into a “full-blown crisis” as passenger numbers are expected to fall 7.5% in 2020.
LATAM, Finnair and Others Reduce Schedules
LATAM Airlines Group announced a 30% reduction in international flights due to lowered demand and travel restrictions. The measure will apply principally to flights from South America to Europe and the US between April 1 and May 30. Finnair also announced that all flights to the US and Delhi for the next month have been canceled. AirBaltic has canceled a total of 580 flights from March 31 until the end of May, and will temporarily cut 250 staff members. Kuwait will become the first country in the world to suspend all commercial air traffic as of March 13. Vietnam has increased restrictions on British and European nationals visiting the country. In the US, the TSA has advised passengers to avoid placing their personal items in the bins at security and keep them in their carry-ons.
China Acts in Face of Stark Drops in Demand
As the coronavirus takes its toll on China’s aviation industry, the country’s civil aviation administration announced a total of 16 countermeasures that touch on everything from providing financial support to domestic carriers, to reducing airport parking fees and increasing infrastructure investment. The contagion continues to have far-reaching effects, with airlines and governments around the world exercising caution; the cabin crew aboard Singapore Airlines must now wear surgical masks. A crucial hurdle for many airlines has been the reduction in travel demand, which United Airlines estimates will amount to 70% in some territories. Norwegian Air canceled 15% of its total capacity yesterday, while Lufthansa has grounded at least 150 aircraft.
APEX Encourages Tax Relief for Airlines During COVID-19 Crisis
The Airline Passenger Experience Association is encouraging governments worldwide to issue immediate tax relief for the airline industry due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus). As such, APEX has put forward three recommendations, including reducing all possible global tax burdens on airlines, suspending “hidden taxes” such as forced slot and gate utilization, and removing new aviation taxes or penalties. “APEX’s recommendations for governments reducing taxation, penalties and slot/gate bureaucracy in the middle of a crisis will go a long way toward ensuring economic recovery,” said APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader.
Delta and American Expand Cuts
As the coronavirus spreads in Europe and North America, demand for travel continues to reduce. Delta Air Lines will cut international flying by as much as 25% and domestic capacity between 10% and 15%. American Airlines is acting similarly, saying it will shave 10% off its international flying during the peak summer season, and cut transpacific flying capacity by 55%. American also extended its suspension of service to China to October. Meanwhile, Qantas Group announced a 23% reduction in capacity for its international network. It will ground eight of its 12 Airbus A380 aircraft, replacing them with smaller jets and reducing the frequency of flights. For the rest of the financial year, the company’s executives and board will take a pay cut.
Korean Air Facing Uncertain Future as Restrictions Grind On
With over 7,000 COVID-19 cases, South Korea is one of the most severely affected countries outside mainland China. A large part of the world has restricted travel to the area, and Korean Air is feeling the brunt of the damage. Woo Kee-hong, the airline’s president, revealed that 80% of the carrier’s international capacity had been cut, a far cry from the 18% suffered during the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis. Furthermore, only 45 aircraft out of its fleet of 145 are currently flying. Considering the unpredictable nature of the situation, he mentioned the possibility that the company may reach a point when its survival comes into question.
More Flights Cut as Cases Surpass 100,000 Mark
With the tally now standing at over 100,000 cases and nearly 4,000 deaths worldwide, the coronavirus continues to cause turmoil for the airline industry. As a result of travel restrictions affecting Hong Kong and Japan, Cathay Pacific suspended flights between the destinations for much of the month. AirBaltic has also cut flights to and from Milan and Verona until the end of April. Yesterday, the airline learned that a passenger on Flight 630 from Milan was infected with the COVID-19 virus. Norwegian Air’s stock price dropped to a 15-year low on Friday as near-term estimates put the company’s financials in the red. The airline has already slashed dozens of flights and cut costs due to COVID-19 fears, but analysts predict the company will require a bailout to stay afloat.
IATA Raises Coronavirus Impact Projections
The spread of COVID-19 to over 80 countries has prompted IATA to update its economic impact estimates. The association now projects 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between $63 billion and $113 billion, depending on whether the virus can be contained or continues to spread. GE Aviation is anticipating a $200–$300 million first-quarter hit from the coronavirus outbreak and has implemented a hiring freeze and cost-cutting measures. More flight cuts have been announced by Aeroflot, Air Astana, and Lufthansa Group, which announced today its capacity would be reduced by up to 50% in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic announced it will cut executive pay and postpone the launch of flights between Heathrow and São Paulo.
Trump Reassures Travelers; United and JetBlue Announce Cuts
President Donald Trump heeded the call from airline executives who urged him to reassure American travelers when he made a statement yesterday claiming, “it’s safe to fly.” Executive members of the trade group Airlines for America met with the President and Vice President Mike Pence yesterday to discuss the industry’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Pence was selected to lead the US government’s coronavirus response. Meanwhile, United Airlines announced a 10% reduction in US and Canadian flights and a 20% reduction in international flying in the month of April, with similar cuts planned in May. JetBlue said in a memo Wednesday that it was cutting capacity by approximately 5% in the near term.
American Airlines, Finnair and Asian Carriers Instill More Cuts
American Airlines suspended its daily flight between Seoul and Dallas because of a drop in demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea. The flights are scheduled to resume April 25. A chorus of other airlines have announced service disruptions: Finnair is canceling flights to mainland China, South Korea and Milan; Korean Air is suspending most European and US flights through April; All Nippon Airways is suspending service to China until mid-March; Japan Airlines is cutting flights to Taiwan and South Korea; and both Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines are implementing widespread service reductions. The Indian government also announced that all passengers arriving on international flights will be required to go through medical screening while entering India.
APEX/IFSA CEO Addresses Coronavirus and Accessibility in Congress
APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader reassured members of Congress and the general public during a hearing yesterday that it is safe to fly despite the COVID-19 outbreak. He outlined nine steps that airlines should be taking, including ensuring clear communication with passengers and staff, implementing aircraft decontamination procedures and allowing broader waivers for booking changes and cancellations, which several airlines have already done.
Emirates Becomes Latest Airline to Offer Unpaid Leave
Travel restrictions put in place as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak have severely impacted Emirates’ operations, prompting COO Adel Al Redha to issue a statement. The carrier is asking staff to take unpaid leave for up to a month at a time, adding that many employees wish to exercise this option. Emirates has already canceled flights to Iran, Bahrain, and most of China. Yesterday, IATA’s vice-president for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Ali Albakri, said that “support from governments” was necessary to help airlines in the region cover their operating costs.
Corporate Travel Set to Decline, Says GBTA
The Global Business Travel Association has estimated the coronavirus outbreak could cost the industry almost $47 billion a month. A survey of its members, which include 9,000-plus business travel professionals, revealed that 31% expect travel to resume in the next three months. Amid the weakened air travel demand, Cathay Pacific has canceled more than three-quarters of its weekly flights in March, and American Airlines and British Airways have both decided to waive change fees. American also suspended flights to Milan. Meanwhile, IATA announced a temporary suspension of its rules governing airport slots, which dictate that airlines must fill at least 80% of their slots or risk losing their allocation.
easyJet, British Airways React to Dwindling Demand
Mirroring Lufthansa’s recent actions, easyJet will be cutting costs, freezing recruitment, promotion and pay, and offering unpaid leave as a result of the coronavirus’s impact on travel demand. easyJet will be canceling select flights, especially those on Italian routes, it revealed in an investor update. British Airways also announced that it would cancel some flights to and from Italy, Singapore and South Korea.
Lufthansa Implements Hiring Freeze and Unpaid Leave to Mitigate Coronavirus Losses
After Lufthansa stock dipped 13% this week as the coronavirus took a toll on its financials, the company announced it will reassess, suspend or defer all new hires. The airline group will also offer unpaid leave and more part-time work to employees, while pursuing administrative cost-cutting. Earnings figures will be announced at its annual results press conference on March 19. The Frankfurt-based group said 13 of its aircraft were grounded, after it canceled all flights to and from mainland China operated by its flagship airline, as well as by Austrian and Swiss, until March 28.
UAE Stops All Flights to Iran for One Week
Iran has become the epicenter of coronavirus in the Middle East, prompting the UAE Civil Aviation Authority to suspend flights to all Iranian cities for a week. The ban, similar to the one the UAE imposed on flights to and from China, minus Beijing, may be extended by another week. A total of 12 Iranians have died from the disease, with 60 confirmed cases. The nearby nations of Bahrain and Kuwait have also suspended flights to other affected countries. There are now 80,377 cases of the virus worldwide and 2,707 deaths.
Chinese Government Poised to Take Over HNA Group
HNA Group, which directly controls or holds stakes in a number of Asian carriers including Hainan Airlines, may be seized by the government of Hainan and have its assets sold to the nation’s three major flag carriers. The report, which began circulating last week, comes from anonymous sources familiar with the matter. HNA Group’s focus on acquiring non-aviation assets in recent years has left it short of cash and the conglomerate’s debts are mounting as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, but China is intent on containing the downward economic spiral. None of the companies involved have provided a comment.
IATA Predicts Quick Recovery After Sharp Decline in Demand
A report from IATA demonstrates a potential 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region, and claims that airlines around the world could lose a total of nearly $30 billion in revenue this year. The association forecasts a similar impact on demand as that experienced during the SARS outbreak: a sharp decline followed by an equally quick recovery. Over 200,000 flights have now been canceled or proactively removed from schedules to, from and within China due to the coronavirus, according to Cirium. British Airways announced an extension of its flight cancellations to Beijing and Shanghai until April 17, and temporarily suspended one of its two daily flights to Hong Kong until March 31. Meanwhile, EgyptAir announced it will resume flights to and from China starting February 27.
FlightHub and JustFly Automate Coronavirus Refund Requests
Sister online booking websites FlightHub and JustFly launched an automated hotline to quickly respond to cancellation, rescheduling and refund requests in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The team of developers created a matrix table that includes all possible combinations of reservation attributes that are eligible for a refund, as guided by respective airline policies. As of February 11, 5,000 refunds had been instantaneously processed – no verbal communication required. At some points, over 200 refunds were processed per hour.
Updates From Air New Zealand, Qantas and Asian Airports
Air New Zealand plans to resume its Shanghai route starting March 30 and its Hong Kong services throughout April and May, both with reduced capacity. The plan is dependent on New Zealand’s government lifting a Chinese travel restriction. Meanwhile, Qantas announced it will reduce its flights to Hong Kong through to at least June 2020 to better match current demand. According to data from Boyd Group International, China’s airports are projected to face a 30% drop in passengers in 2020. Retail, food and service concessionaires at Singapore Changi Airport will be offered a 50% rebate on their monthly basic rental costs for six months to ease the financial burden caused by the decline in passengers there.
Coronavirus Leads to More Capacity Cuts for Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific increased its predicted reduction in capacity over the coming weeks from 30% to 40% as a result of a substantial drop in travel demand amid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The cuts will likely extend into the month of April. Earlier this month, the airline suspended its flights to London Gatwick, Rome, Washington DC, Newark, Male, Davao, Clark, Jeju and Taichung. Cathay said its financial results for the first half of 2020 will be significantly lower compared to the same period last year. Singapore Airlines also announced a temporary reduction in flights across its global network starting February 24 through May. The coronavirus has infected a total of 73,433 people worldwide and killed 1,866.
Coronavirus Will Be More Damaging for Airline Industry Than SARS, ICAO Says
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has released insights into the economic impact of the coronavirus thus far on international travel. Among the statistics: 70 airlines have canceled all international flights to and from mainland China and 50 airlines have curtailed related air operations, resulting in an 80% reduction of foreign airline capacity to and from the country. Initial gross operating revenues for airlines worldwide are expected to be reduced by $4–5 billion in Q1. ICAO expects COVID-19 to have greater economic impacts than the 2003 SARS epidemic.
APEX Releases Official Statement on Coronavirus
Unless traveling in high-risk areas affected by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, APEX encourages normal air travel with heightened vigilance, in line with guidance from the World Health Organization. In an official statement, APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader said that “flights worldwide remain safe overall,” as the response from airlines and governments has been strong, and 99% of cases are concentrated in mainland China. In addition to the efforts being made by the industry to thwart the spread of COVID-19, it remains imperative that travelers do their part to reduce the risk of spreading illness. Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing, coughing into one’s elbow, and self-reporting after being in a high-risk area should ensure flying remains safe.
American Airlines Extends China Flight Suspension
The coronavirus outbreak, which to date has killed over 1,100 people and infected approximately 45,500, has led American Airlines to continue canceling flights to China and Hong Kong. Citing dwindling demand, flights between Dallas / Los Angeles and mainland China, as well as flights between LAX and Hong Kong are now suspended through April 24. Flights between Dallas and Hong Kong are suspended through April 23. Earlier this month, United Airlines canceled all flights to and from Hong Kong until February 20 due to a “continued drop in demand.”
Coronavirus Casts Shadow Over Singapore Airshow
The Singapore Airshow will go on, but 70 firms decided to not make an appearance at Asia’s top aerospace event amid concerns related to the coronavirus. With the disease estimated to have reduced the number of flights scheduled to operate to, from and within China by 24%, and the number of flights actually operated having been slashed by 50% compared to seasonal levels, Asian airlines are bracing for a grim financial picture this year. Embraer commercial aviation head John Slattery mentioned he is hopeful that the virus, which has claimed over 900 lives, will taper off in the next few weeks.
Hong Kong Airlines to Cut Jobs Due to Coronavirus
Following a similar decision taken by Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines will cut 400 jobs and reduce its daily operations by 63% starting February 11 and continuing until March. It has also asked its ground staff to take a minimum of two weeks unpaid leave per month, or switch to working three days a week between February 17 and June 30. An airline spokesperson believes the coronavirus will cause weakened travel demand to persist into the summer and said the carrier needed to take action to stay afloat. The virus has infected more than 31,000 and claimed 636 lives so far in China. There are 320 cases reported in 27 countries.
Cathay Pacific Cuts Flights, Asks Workforce to Stay Home in Wake of Coronavirus
The coronavirus outbreak has caused a steep decline in demand for flights with Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific. The company has asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave as a result, to be carried out on a voluntary basis between March and June. Cathay plans to cut its global capacity by 30%, including reducing 90% of its flights into mainland China over the next two months. United Airlines is experiencing a similar drop in demand and announced it will be canceling all flights to and from Hong Kong from February 8 until February 20.
US Tightens Travel Rules as Coronavirus Cases Climb
The Trump administration imposed a new set of travel restrictions which took effect on Sunday, prohibiting foreigners who have been in China in the last 14 days from entering the United States. Exemptions include whether they are an immediate family member of a US citizen or a permanent resident. Travelers who fall under the restrictions will be rerouted to one of 11 airports for enhanced screening. Airline staff will be tasked with questioning travelers about their recent travel history. Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf said “it’s imperative that individuals honor self-quarantine directives to help protect the American public.”
Pilot Association Sues American Airlines Over Flights to China
The union representing American Airlines pilots filed a lawsuit yesterday in which it accused the carrier of negligently and intentionally exposing its members to the coronavirus by continuing to operate flights to Beijing and Shanghai out of Dallas. American said Wednesday that it would only suspend flights between Los Angeles and mainland China starting February 9. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency, which gives it the authority to question countries over unnecessary travel.
Asian Airlines Scale Down In-Flight Service to Stem Coronavirus Outbreak
Some Asian airlines are reducing in-flight services on certain short-haul routes in order to limit the spread of germs as the region contends with the coronavirus outbreak. China Airlines has replaced tablecloths, napkins and head pads with disposable alternatives. Cathay Pacific is servicing a hot snack in economy rather than a tray service, and serving business-class courses all at once.
Airlines Cancel Flights to China to Limit Spread of Coronavirus
With the Chinese coronavirus now having claimed over 130 lives, US airlines are beginning to modify their flight schedules. American Airlines will suspend flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Beijing from February 9 through March 27. Yesterday, United announced it would cut 24 flights between the US and China during the first week of February. Delta remains the only domestic airline with nonstop flights to China that has not adjusted its schedule. Globally, Finnair, Cathay Pacific and Jetstar Asia are reducing the number of flights to China while British Airways, Lion Air and Seoul Air have canceled them entirely.
Coronavirus Screening Expands to 20 US Airports
As the Wuhan coronavirus spreads, and the State Department prepares to evacuate US government personnel and private American citizens from the epicenter of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced a move to monitor additional US airports, bringing the total number of facilities performing enhanced screening to 20. About 240 Americans are expected to fly to Ontario, California, from Wuhan tomorrow on a US government-chartered evacuation flight. More than 100 people have died from the disease, and five cases have been confirmed in the US. The State Department and the CDC have both cautioned against nonessential travel to China.
Germ-Killing Robot May Combat Coronavirus at US Airports
Dimer, the manufacturer of GermFalcon, is offering its services at no expense to airlines at airports currently screening travelers for the coronavirus. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and John F. Kennedy international airports will benefit from the germ robot’s strategically placed ultraviolet-C lamps designed to quickly and safely disinfect interior aircraft surfaces. Authorities in Wuhan, China, the virus’ epicenter, have closed the local airport and locked down all public transportation in an attempt to fend off the virus.
Three US Airports to Screen Passengers for Coronavirus
A live animal market in Wuhan, China was the likely source of a novel coronavirus outbreak that has spread to over 200 people in the country and claimed three lives. Health authorities have found evidence of human-to-human transmission of the disease. In an effort to contain the respiratory virus, screenings have begun at Los Angeles, San Francisco and John F. Kennedy international airports. The pressure to mitigate the risk of an outbreak is heightened as Lunar New Year, the largest human mass migration in the world, approaches.