December 2019 marked the spread of the deadly corona virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Ever since, a global epidemic has began and it is affecting our beloved aviation industry.
Corona virus has infected more than 40,000 people so far. Most of the cases were discovered in China, but other cases have been reported from over a dozen more countries around the world-with a death toll reaching about 2,000 people.
On Jan. 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global emergency.
Special quarantine and health inspection procedures have been enforced in China and other locations in Asia and around the world, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
The aviation industry was deeply affected by the outbreak of the virus. This is because the Chinese new year came around whilst the virus was emerging so many Chinese citizens unknowingly carried the virus abroad with them, causing fear and chaos on some flights and in some airports.
Flights to china have mostly been suspended by airlines, with a few exceptions here and there. Some cities like Wuhan, Shenzhen and Shanghai have been put under quarantine with no way in or out.
Despite the quarantine, evacuation flights have been organized by the governments of several countries including : Japan, South Korea, US, UK, EU, Russia, Canada, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and more to rescue their citizens and bring them home safely.
Those flights are usually operated by charter companies like , atlas air, hi fly and air kalitta. However, some countries sent their own jets like Royal Jordanian’s 787.
The virus outbreak has also caused many Chinese and southeast Asian airlines to limit their operations due to low demand of flights to and from china. Cathy pacific, for example, has shut down almost 90% of it’s operations.
In total, airlines in the Asia Pacific region are set to see a $27.8bn revenue loss in 2020, while those outside Asia are expected to lose $1.5bn in revenue.
The two major global aircraft manufacturers-Boeing and Airbus-are already reeling under safety issues and corruption charges respectively. The Corona virus has only made it even more turbulent.
China is a key supplier of multiple aircraft components used across the Airbus family of aircraft. Airbus’ completion center for its A320 and A330 models in Tianjin was closed for a short period. Further disruption to these plants can affect the manufacturing rate and can potentially prolong its backlog that is at 7,725, of which more than 6,500 aircraft are of the A320 and A330 models (as of Jan 31, 2020). Boeing will face a less significant impact as its factory in Shanghai primarily deals with installing interiors to the now grounded 737 MAX aircraft.
A cloud of uncertainty hangs over Chinese Airlines; they have not only canceled flights but have also put their foreign pilots on leave. Drastic steps such as temporary workforce and route reduction had to be taken to keep financial distress at bay. Vietnamese airlines have cumulatively lost about $430 million, as per government statements, and would potentially affect 400,000 passengers per month after a travel ban on all flights between Vietnam and China. Numerous airlines across the globe have canceled all or some of their routes to China, a few key carriers being British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines. These cancellations have led to a drastic drop in overall scheduled capacity to and from China and that is reducing with each passing day according to various aviation analytics organization.