The effect of the Coronavirus on the aviation industry.

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to rise, so does the concern of the virus being contracted by people. This has caused many governments to ask their citizens to postpone any non-essential trips to China, with some counties like Saudi Arabia outright banning its citizens from traveling to the Chinese mainland. In light of the situation, many airlines have decided to halt or scale back their operations to most airports due to the reduction in demand and rise in safety concerns.

Chinese air travel has seen a 70% reduction in incoming flights to the county, which is almost 50,000 cancelled flights so far. This has had a detrimental impact on the Chinese aviation market, which was the 2nd biggest market, only behind the United States. The economic impacts have radiated outside China, airlines that had a prominent presence in the Chinese market are also suffering losses because of all the cancellations.

Daily flights into Chinese airports (source: FR24)

As of now about 73 foreign airlines have cancelled their flights to China, the majority of these airlines are based in Europe and North America, and have cancelled their service to China till the end of March. Airlines in the Middle East like Emirates and Etihad have stopped operating into all airports in Mainland China except Beijing, and has kept this route running as an act of solidarity with the Chinese government, and has received praise for it.

People in the Wuhan Province continue to be on lockdown, whilst people outside the city that want to leave, are normally commuting to Beijing by train (which has also cut down on their services), and others by car, to fly out of the country from there. Some people are being evacuated by their respective countries, out of China with the likes of Germany, France, and the UK chartering cargo planes to fly to Wuhan. Upon arrival passengers were being quarantined for 14 days in case they carried the virus.

The current future of air travel in China is unclear, and relies on changes in the severity of the virus outbreak, but for now we can expect further reduction in flights being operated to China as the number of people infected increase around the world, and governments impose stricter restrictions on travel to China.

Source: Fortune/CNBC

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Hassan Jammal
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