Asian airlines significantly reduce PH flights over COVID-19 outbreak

Aviation Updates Philippines – Several airlines have initiated a capacity reduction to the Philippines and the Asian region primarily due to the falling demand amidst the still on-going Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The virus has already infected 77,825 and claimed the lives of 2,359, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's February 22 statistics.
CANCELLED FLIGHTS, GROUNDED JETS. Airlines are affected globally as travel bans are implemented to China. Photo by Ted Aljibe – AFP.
Routesonline has been covering developments on Asian airline's route frequency adjustments during the outbreak. Since early-January, flights have been cancelled mostly to mainland China and its neighbouring areas. The move is part of an international effort to curb the spread of disease as travel bans continue to take effect worldwide.

South Korea's T-Way Air will cancel its Daegu-Cebu service starting February 26 and has already withdrawn its Daegu-Kalibo service since Sunday. On the other hand, the airline's Incheon-Clark route will be cancelled on February 25 while frequency reduction from daily to four times weekly will be applied to its Incheon-Kalibo route starting February 28.

For China-based carriers: Loong Air has cancelled its planned thrice-weekly flights to Clark from Haikou and Hangzhou until March 28, including its thrice-weekly Ningbo-Kalibo service. Lucky Air has cancelled its sole Philippine operation to Cebu from Kunming since early-February. Since the first week of February, Okay Airways also suspended its Changsha-Kalibo and Hangzhou-Kalibo route.

Similarly, Xiamen Airlines has cancelled flights to the Philippines: Chengdu-Cebu, Fuzhou-Kalibo, Quanzhou-Clark, Quanzhou-Cebu, Quanzhou-Davao, and Xiamen-Cebu flights. However, flights from Xiamen to Manila has been reduced from twice daily to once daily. Meanwhile, flights from Quanzhou to Manila were reduced from once daily to thrice-weekly.

These cancelled flights are most likely to resume normally, as scheduled before the outbreak, on March 28 onward. By this time, the Philippine government is expected to lift the travel ban to China as long as conditions continue to improve.

The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) recently identified that Asia-Pacific airlines might significantly bleed in 2020. The aviation agency predicted that airlines might lose up to $27.8 billion in light of deficient passenger demand as fears for the COVID-19 continue to monger with the public.

Chinese airlines would take the most substantial blow to its revenues as domestic flights are disrupted and cut off from highly contagious areas. Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific, which operates mostly to mainland China, has also grounded most of its fleet given the massive service reduction to almost all of its international route network.

A global estimate of $29.3 billion revenue loss has been anticipated for airlines that operate flights to China. The 4.7 percent decline in passenger air traffic contributed to the staggering revenue loss for the year 2020 alone.