Airlines And The Novel Corona virus.

The year 2020 has not been kind to the aviation industry so far, it’s only march and aviation movement around the world is grounding to a halt due to the effects of the widely spreading corona virus (COVID-2019).

Photo by Aeromanu

Airports worldwide; runaways are deserted , aircraft are parked at gates and taxiways, terminals are closed and airspace is mostly empty of planes.

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Aircraft parked at BEY
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Rafiq Al Hariry Airport after suspending flights.

Today we’ll discuss the aftermath of the current pandemic situation in regards to Airlines around the world; besides countries imposing travel restrictions like the USA and others along with an out right travel ban like Egypt, Jordan and the EU.

Here’s a list of airlines who suspended most international flights and operations, where between 80-100% flights are cancelled:

  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • La Compagnie
  • Air Baltic
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Finnair
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Norwegian Air
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Eurowings
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Ryanair
  • Ukraine International Airlines
  • CSA Czech Airlines
  • Air France (Reduced capacity)
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Reduced capacity)
  • Air New Zealand
  • British Airways (Reduced capacity)
  • Iberia
  • Aer Lingus
  • WestJet
  • Air Madagascar
  • Egypt Air
  • Starlux Airlines
  • Uzbekistan Airways
  • Cathay Pacific (Reduced capacity)
  • United Airlines (Reduced capacity)
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Yeminea
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Jetstar
  • Laudamotion
  • Alitalia
  • Air Transat
  • Air Malta
  • Virgin Australia
  • Qantas (Reduced capacity)
  • Vueling
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
Image result for aircraft parked due to corona

It seems that the airlines affected the most by the current situation are not the national carriers as they have the support of their governments, but rather the independent ones like Eurowings and Ryan air; especially that Europe’s airlines have been declaring bankruptcy one after the other, The most recent example being Flybe last month.

But how do these airlines protect their planes from spreading the virus? Let’s take Etihad as an example.

Etihad now deep cleans every aircraft at every destination across its network whenever there's a layover of more than four hours. Courtesy Etihad 

Cleaning procedures have been stepped up. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, a full deep-clean only happened at Etihad’s home base in Abu Dhabi. This procedure now happens across all destinations, on any layover longer than four hours.

Every time the aircraft is grounded for long enough, it undergoes a deep-clean. That means “everything that can be replaced is replaced, and every single surface is cleaned,” they say.

On short layovers, the cleaning technique remains extensive. “We spray Bacoban all over the cabin. The toilet and galleys are deep-cleaned thoroughly. We also remove the toilet seats and replace them with new ones – that’s very important.”

Etihad aircraft are fitted with high-efficiency filters that recirculate the air from the cabin, mixing it with fresh air. Bastaki says this provides the cleanest and safest air possible, making the aircraft safer than the majority of malls or office blocks.

Etihad has stepped up cleaning procedures but wants travellers to take responsibiity for being self aware when flying. Courtesy Etihad 

“The aircraft is fitted with Hepa filters, which have the same standard as a surgical room, a place that’s considered very sterile,” she says. “­Everyone is not sharing the same air, it’s zone-related. Only every three or four rows of seats would share a circulation. The air moves around this zone in a circular motion, it goes up through the filters and then out, it’s constantly being recirculated.”

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