Impact of Coronavirus on Air Travel

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  • MarcusGB

    Hi All.
    I thought a more specific topic would assist us all, to pool our Airline / Travel information from our experiences, in different parts of The World.
    Please share your experiences or awareness of anything others may find useful.

    I am currently in Australia, so from here the perspective is different to Europe.
    Having flown out via Kuala Lumpur, it was clear at the end of January 20, that many Chinese travellers had not been flying, and many cancellations in KL were being made at all hotels. We were staying at The Mandarin Oriental, and at the entrance everyone was being asked to alcogel their hands to enter.
    The streets and Malls were very quiet to say the least.

    Arriving at Sydney, the auto immigration machines where you obtain a ticket after scanning in yr passport, and either get cleared or not to use the E-gates, had specific questions added about recent visits to China.
    Further, everyone was being asked this with an extra staff immigration team as you entered the baggage areas.

    Australia currently has a ban on those who have travelled out of China, and Government has extended by one week…

    Repatriation flights for Australian citizens have returned several hundred people, who are isolated either on Christmas Island, or a former mining camp in Darwin.
    Many flights to and from China have been cancelled.
    Virgin Australia have stated that combined with the civil unrest, they are withdrawing their flights to Hong Kong permanently. It was “No longer economically viable”.
    Many flights to Hong Kong have been cancelled.

    Here in Sydney and other cities, tourism is down considerably. Clearly less tourists around Sydney than normal at this time of year. It is reported by Government, 16% of tourists are from China, over 1.2 Million per year.

    (This is also as a result of the Bush fires, and now severe flooding, rain and storms)

    But talking to friends, colleagues, and generally to people in stores etc, all say it is exceptionally quiet. Having lived here and as a regular visitor, it feels exceptionally quiet, with only locals on ferries and at cafes, restaurants etc.
    Equally, Australians are not travelling up to South East Asia as normal, for holidays or Business.
    Impact on various businesses depending on China components, imports, being delayed or cancelled for now.

    The wearing of face masks in public, offer little Clinical protection, especially if walking around with the same one on all day! Even Medical grade face masks, have a limited effect and are usually worn for a maximum period of an hour before changing. with very few people apart from the Chinese community appearing to use them here in Sydney.
    They are all sold out here.

    There is a clear impact on Air travel, cancellations, bookings not being made ahead, the same with hotels, and with all associated visitor businesses, restaurants stating as much as a 70% drop in customers, as reported on ABC news this evening.
    People are not booking cruise ship travel, and extra cautions are being made for those ships docking in Sydney.
    Many Australians are on the cruise ship in Japan, that seems to be have a high probability for being affected, due to high density of people in a small space.

    Not many cases confirmed in Australia, but i observe that The Government are well prepared and also acting very responsibly. The links are very strong in terms of Business and travel between Asia and Australia, more so than Europe, so link into the economy here.
    Government reports that combined with the Bush fires and weather events since Sept 19, there will be a prolonged impact on the overall GDP of the country, even though the fires have currently been put out due to days of torrential rains.

    I hope this gives an “on the ground” insight into the impact here in Australia, and it would be interesting to hear other BT forum members experience around The World, or awareness of impact on travel you find, in relation to your areas and travels.
    It clearly is affecting Air travel in and out of China, and also adding to the difficulties of Hong Kong visitors, and the Airlines based there, especially in Australia.
    Again i emphasise, this is on top of the impact of the bush fires, and extreme weather here down in Australia.

    (The Australians are very aware and grateful for all the efforts of the Brits, for donating, other activities, and gestures of time making pouches for the injured Marsupials, with over 1.2 Billion animals killed by the fires)

    3 users thanked author for this post.



    We flew to Sydney from London via Singapore last week and were asked at passport control if we had been to China recently. However we did go to a manned desk rather than attempt to use the e-gates. Certainly there was less queing than usual.I can’t say I have seen anyone outside of the airport here wearing face masks. Some parts of Sydney are still very busy, but the locals are still going to the beaches !

    At Changi I would say about half of the staff at our gate were wearing masks, but none of the staff in the couple of shops we went to were wearing masks.


    Living and working in Asia as many on this forum I can say there has been a huge impact on air travel, airports and indeed getting around. I was in Singapore all last week on business, the place has gone mad with supermarkets running out of basics as people panic buy (dont ask me why this is typically Singaporean), I was temp checked in every establishment I went to and almost everyone is wearing masks when the prudent health advise is not to wear unless you are unwell!

    When I flew into Changi from BKK the airport was deserted (Wed 9pm) when the place is normally buzzing with night flights to all over the world, it was eerie and when I left to Phuket Friday afternoon normally the busiest time the airport was dead very strange!

    Here in Phuket life goes on without concern, I arrived into Phuket Friday afternoon normally the airport is buzzing but straight through immigration and in the car within 5 mins ( yes please) so if you are travelling the benefits are that planes are empty, airports are empty and getting around is easy, I dont wear a mask my husband is a highly trained ICU nurse and he says that wearing a mask is a waste of time for those unaffected and should only be worn if you are sick, this seems to tally with what other professionals are saying but try telling that to the 1000’s wearing the masks out and about!

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