Prior to arriving at the gate, the Air China Boeing 777-300ER was given a traditional water cannon salute to welcome Air China to Houston. (Credits: Author)

MIAMI – The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) directs Chinese and foreign airlines to limit flights to one per week within the country starting March 29.

Regarding efforts to contain the pandemic, the Asian authorities ordered one route per carrier and also temporarily suspended the entry of foreigners with valid Chinese visas and residence permits, effective on March 28, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

Even though the cases in Wuhan, the COVID-19 epicenter, seem to be contained as authorities are not reporting any increase, concerns about a reboot of the virus still exist. as analysts expect an outright contraction for the Chinese economy in Q1 2020, the latter reported by the Financial Post.

A dark Asian-Pacific scenario


Prior to the announcement, around 80% of international flights were canceled in the country. By March 5, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) forecasted that the Asia-Pacific region would be the most affected with US$27.8bn in revenue losses and a low of 13% on RPKs.

Due to worldwide travel restrictions, the negative impact on the worldwide and regional aviation industry escalated on March 24 to US$88bn in revenue and to 37% on RPKs as stated in IATA’s updated report.

Today, IATA wrote to 18 Asia-Pacific governments to lobby for emergency support to airlines so they could survive what seems like the industry’s apocalypse, as its CEO, Alexandre de Juniac categorizes the situation.

The initial suggestions aim to help companies focus on getting direct financial support, tax relief, loans, loan guarantees and support by governments or central banks as 2.7m airline jobs are at risk.