Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Coronavirus forces Asian airlines to ground over 1,000 planes

The air space above Asia is quickly becoming jetliner-free now that airline operators are grounding most of their planes, and in some cases entire fleets, as the coronavirus crisis rages and demand plunges. In seven economies that have imposed lockdowns or border control measures, over 1,000 airplanes are now parked on tarmacs.

The pandemic is hopscotching the globe, mostly leaving China for Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and now South and Southeast Asia. A number of countries are experiencing explosive growth in the number of new infections, including some of China's neighbors who thought they dodged a bullet when the crisis did not immediately impact them in a big way.

Now South and Southeast Asian governments are beginning to take strict measures, severely limiting the movement of people. India, which had 536 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, has adopted the strictest anti-virus crackdown. As of Wednesday it is not allowing any commercial passenger flights to operate domestically.

"The central government considers that the movement of persons within the country by flights carrying a large number of persons together will aid and assist the spread of the virus within India," the country's aviation regulator said in a statement. "[F]or prevention of further spread of the epidemic disease, such movement of people must be restricted."

The decision ban domestic flights came on Monday, a day after all inbound international flights were prohibited. The flight ban is meant to keep India from importing new infections and to halt the spread of the virus that is already taking place in the country.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put the entire nation of more than 1.3 billion people on lockdown for three weeks.
Airplanes have become an important means of transportation for Indians who need to travel around the vast country and internationally. India's major carriers -- including InterGlobe Aviation's IndiGo, state-owned Air India, Spice Jet, AirAsia India and Vistara -- operate more than 500 planes. Now their fleets, with the exception of cargo planes, sit idle.

Late Monday night, Singapore began prohibiting all short-term visitors from entering the city or transiting through it. Also on Monday, the government announced that beginning on Friday all travelers, including residents and long-term visitors, must submit health declarations when returning from abroad.
25/03/20 Masayuki Yuda/Nikkei Asian Review

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment