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Coronavirus: What impact on Airlines and Tourism industry ?

Coronavirus: What impact on Airlines and Tourism industry ? – By Ahmed Haouaria

18 Fév 2020


Coronavirus: Nearly 1900 dead, However, WHO is reassuring

More than 73,000 people have been infected, but the trend is declining. The WHO warns against any “disproportionate” measures. The decline seems to be confirmed and the statements of the World Health Organization (WHO) are consistent. The epidemic of viral pneumonia, which mainly affects Hubei province in central China, has infected more than 73,000 people worldwide and has left nearly 1,900 dead. But, behind this global data, the daily figures are going down. In this context, WHO warns against any “disproportionate” measure.

A daily decline trend 

The total number of contaminations in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao) climbed this February 11, 2020, to 72,438. Elsewhere in the world, 897 infected people have been identified in thirty countries and territories, which brings the total to the world has 73,335 contaminations. But, in 1886, the daily number of new infections was at its lowest since the beginning of the month. Outside Hubei, cordoned off by a cordon to contain the epidemic, only 79 new contaminations were identified on February 11, 2020, in mainland China. On February 4, there were 890.

The human toll reached 1,868 dead. And a director of a hospital in Wuhan City, where the epidemic started, died after being infected. Elsewhere in the world, only five deaths have been recorded so far (in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, France, and Taiwan).

WHO: Reassuring statements

WHO is reassuring: outside of Hubei province, the Covid-19 disease "affects a very small proportion of the population" and its mortality rate is currently only about 2 %. "The measures must be proportionate to the situation, taken based on evidence and elements of public health," said its director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to the press, stressing that "zero risk does not exist".

The WHO had already declared against the brutal restriction of the trips, whereas the United States, Australia, and New Zealand in particular prohibited the entry on their territory to the foreigners who recently went to China - of which many Chinese. Trade conferences, sports competitions, and cultural events have been canceled or postponed, while a large number of airlines have suspended flights to mainland China.

Impact on Airlines industry 

Coronavirus impacts Singapore Air Show. More than 70 exhibitors have given up and Chinese groups absent

The most important fair in Asia opens in a very difficult context, not only for manufacturers and companies because it is the whole tourist industry which will "take a huge blow". More than 70 exhibitors did not come, including Lockheed Martin, Bombardier, De Havilland. Chinese industrialists are prohibited from traveling to Singapore. The heavyweights Airbus and Boeing, which is trying to recover from the 737 MAX crisis, are nevertheless present, but without the headliners.

The Show opened Tuesday, February 11, 2020, in a gloomy atmosphere while the airline industry expects to suffer the negative impact of the new coronavirus. The fair, which is held every two years in the City-State of Southeast Asia, is an opportunity for hundreds of aeronautical companies to present their latest products and to negotiate multi-million dollar contracts with airlines. But the virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in China and has spread to around twenty countries, is hanging over the show this year where visitors and exhibitors are fewer than in previous editions.

Singapore reported 45 cases of people who contracted the virus and the City-State raised its health alert level last week.More than 70 exhibitors have given up participating in the show, including the American defense giant Lockheed Martin and the Canadian manufacturers Bombardier and De Havilland. At least 10 Chinese industrial groups have had to throw in the towel after the Chinese ban on traveling to Singapore.

Exceptional precautionary measures and limited public access

The Air Show organizers canceled a conference which was to be held as a prelude but maintained the show with exceptional precautionary measures. Access by the general public has been limited and participants are invited to greet each other with a wave of their hand or by bowing, rather than shaking hands.Participants go through a thermal scanner and dispensers of antiseptic liquid are placed at key locations.Heavyweights in the sector like Boeing, which is looking to recover from the crisis caused by the crashes of the 737 MAX model, and Airbus are nevertheless present.The airline industry is already suffering from the decisions of many countries to close their borders to the Chinese in an attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.We have entered "a difficult period" and the airlines "will be negatively impacted", said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) even if it is still too early to predict losses in the sector.

Impact on Cruise  sector

Cruise lines Travelers who have recently stayed in China prohibited from entering the territory.

Several countries and cruise lines have announced that they have prohibited travelers or travelers who have recently stayed in China from entering their countries. The anxiety continues to grow in the face of the epidemic of Coronavirus. All countries are taking steps, in turn, to try to limit the spread of the virus on their territory. And some are rather radical. The United States, for example, has declared a state of emergency and announced the closure of its borders to foreigners who have recently traveled to China.

A drastic decision also was taken by other countries such as Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore or even Mongolia. In the Cook Islands, people who have traveled to China in the past 30 days will have to observe a 14-day quarantine period before they can enter the country. Worse again, in Samoa, quarantine even concerns travelers from a country where cases have been confirmed, such as France. To be able to enter, it is essential to provide a medical certificate of fewer than three days attesting the same.

Cruises lines precautions implementation 

Cruise lines have also stepped up their precautions. Both MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises have announced that they will refuse passengers, visitors or crew members who have traveled to China in the past 30 days for MSC and the last 14 days for Costa. Boarding health checks with temperature readings have also been implemented, and the two companies have canceled scheduled cruises from Chinese ports.

Diamond Princess: a Cruise Liner in quarantine

The main source of contamination outside of China remains the Diamond Princess cruise liner, which was quarantined in early February in Yokohama Bay near Tokyo. A new batch of tests carried out on 681 people revealed 88 additional positive cases, announced Tuesday February 11, 2020 the Japanese ministry of Health. This brings to 542 the total number of cases noted on this ship immobilized near Yokohama (suburb of Tokyo), on 3,700 passengers and crew members initially on board. Other test results are expected later.Several countries have started to evacuate their nationals. On Monday, more than 300 Americans were repatriated by plane to the United States. On Tuesday 11 February 2020, the United Kingdom in turn declared that it wanted to repatriate its nationals present on board "as soon as possible". It would be 74 British.

Global economic concerns

Large global companies fear a fall in commercial demand. Apple announced on February 10, 2020, that its second-quarter revenue forecast is unlikely to be met due to the epidemic in China, a crucial country for the U.S. company.

The Morocco case

The effects of coronavirus have already started to be felt on performance

The ambition to close the 500,000 Chinese tourists in Morocco by the end of 2020 seems to be compromised. Coronavirus forces the Moroccan government and the tourism and hospitality professionals who were counting on this very active tourist windfall, to be worried. Local tourism operators believe that the effects have already started to be felt. Experts in the Chinese market confirm that the virus will hurt national tourism and its performance in Morocco. Travel agencies have already received travel cancellations from several groups that were scheduled for February.

And the situation is likely to continue with more than 9 airports in China have been closed, from different provinces. It should be noted that Chinese tourist agencies were ordered, at the end of last week and until further notice, to no longer market travel to and from the country. The Chinese Ministry of Tourism and Culture issued a statement announcing the cancellation of all flights to all destinations, domestic and international. 

Royal Air Maroc (RAM): barely launched the new Casablanca-Beijing flight suspended.

When the Royal Air Maroc (RAM) had just inaugurated its direct flight Casablanca-Beijing line with three flights a week, the coronavirus came to cause trouble in the transportation of passengers between the two countries.

The airline, which opened on January 16, 2020, and which had been operating normally since its launch, was suspended after just 14 days of its launch by Royal Air Maroc, which announced the news in a press release on January 30.

ICAO urges the member states and airlines to moderate

Airlines must not overreact and countries must respond in proportion to health risks when it comes to air travel, Civil Aviation Organization international (ICAO), the UN Aviation Agency chief, Fang Liu, said on February 11, 2020.

"ICAO encourages States and airlines to respond proportionately to the level of risk that has been established by WHO and other medical experts," said the General Secretary of ICAO. Remembering that some airlines have suspended some or all of their direct flights to China for the next few weeks, Fang Liu, said it was unfortunate that the misinformation surrounding disease epidemics contagious, often leads some industry leaders to overreact.

Excessive restrictions can increase fear and stigmatization according to General Secretary of ICAO. The ICAO chief stressed that aircraft manufacturers, airlines and airports had taken special precautions to minimize the risk to air travelers of being infected with the virus and that if the main role of the 'ICAO is to help governments connect the world, in times like this, "The health and safety of travelers must be a top priority."

ICAO itself has published two public health and travel advisories, said Liu, and will continue to monitor the situation closely. The civil aviation organization also plans to publish a letter reminding countries of their obligation to establish national aviation plans in the event of an international health emergency. "For several decades, ICAO has worked with its member states to ensure an effective regulatory framework through the implementation of the Chicago Convention and its annexes relating to communicable diseases," said Fang Liu.




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