If you travel – return may be subject to quarantine

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 6 March 2020:The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), has urged citizens and residents to avoid traveling abroad due to the spread of Covid-19 in multiple countries.

MoHAP yesterday said that those who travel may face preventative measures upon their return to the UAE – at the discretion of competent authorities – including undergoing medical checks at the airport, and a 14-day home quarantine.

Those who test positive will be transferred to a designated health facility for treatment and quarantine to ensure their safety and to avoid contact with others, the statement carried by Wam added.

The ministry also said the UAE follows the precautions and measures in accordance with international health standards, noting the recovery of five coronavirus patients in the UAE.

Covid-19 hits January passenger demand: IATA

GENEVA: The International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced global passenger traffic data for January 2020 showing that demand climbed 2.4 percent compared to January 2019.

IATA noted that despite the growth, the numbers were down from 4.6 percent year-over-year growth for the prior month. The results are the lowest monthly increase since April 2010, at the time of the volcanic ash cloud crisis in Europe that led to massive airspace closures and flight cancellations.

January capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 1.7 percent. Load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 80.3 percent.

Tip of the iceberg

“January was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the traffic impacts we are seeing owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, given that major travel restrictions in China did not begin until 23 January. Nevertheless, it was still enough to cause our slowest traffic growth in nearly a decade,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director-General and CEO.

January international passenger demand rose 2.5 percent compared to January 2019, down from 3.7 percent growth the previous month.

With the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases, led by airlines in Africa and the Middle East that saw minimal impact from the COVID-19 outbreak in January.

Mideast airlines

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 5.4 percent traffic increase in January, the fourth consecutive month of solid demand growth, reflecting strong performance from larger Europe-Middle East and Middle East-Asia routes, which were not significantly impacted by route cancellations related to Covid-19 at that time.

“The Covid-19 outbreak is a global crisis that is testing the resilience not only of the airline industry but of the global economy,” said de Juniac.

He explained, “Airlines are experiencing double-digit declines in demand, and on many routes traffic has collapsed. Aircraft are being parked and employees are being asked to take unpaid leave.”

“In this emergency, governments need to consider the maintenance of air transport links in their response. Suspension of the 80/20 slot use rule, and relief on airport fees at airports where demand has disappeared are two important steps that can help ensure that airlines are positioned to provide support during the crisis and eventually in the recovery,” de Juniac noted.