MAJOR AIRLINES NOW PULL THE PLUG OVER #COVID19
(Posted 16th March 2020)
Major international airlines have now reached breaking point, as more and more countries impose shutdowns on themselves, their neighbours and the world at large.
With air traffic becoming increasingly impossible – given that restrictions also apply to crews which have been to countries with major virus outbreaks, have airlines now begun to prepare for shutdown.
Scandinavian Airline, known as SAS, will halt all operations effective today, 16th of March.
Said the airline in a statement:
Due to the coronavirus and the measures implemented by national authorities, the demand for air travel is essentially non-existent. SAS has therefore decided to put most of its operations on hold, starting Monday March 16 and until necessary prerequisites for commercial air traffic returns.
To support our customers, we will in the next few days do our utmost to uphold a certain level of operation to enable travelers to return from their destinations.
Information regarding the traffic situation and specific flights will be constantly updated on our website. Affected passengers will be notified.
The waiting time at our call centers is extraordinary long. We kindly ask that you only call us if your flight departs within the next 3 days.
SAS has also announced that as many as 10.000 staff are being laid off with immediate effect, passing the social burden on to governments in Scandinavia.
Air Baltic will halt flight operations as of Tuesday, 17th of March, Air New Zealand will cut at least 85 percent of their international flights while American Airlines has announced a similar measure, for now halting 75 percent of their international flight operations.
LOT Polish Airlines has also announced the halt of flight operations for at least 10 days, subject to review and extension thereafter.
One of the biggest casualties of the #COVID19 outbreak right now is Qatar Airways, which will also halt all operations as of Wednesday this week, allowing their aircraft and crews to return to base before the shutdown.
Norway has closed all their airports for international operations and other countries are considering similar measures, leaving airlines still operating, albeit at already reduced capacity, to ponder their own future in the skies, until the outbreak has been brought under control and normal life can resume.
ATCNews has upon reports of the growing intensity of #COVID19 already questioned why airlines were continuing to fly into virus hotbed destinations, and suggested that in some cases it was either sheer ignorance of the aggressive nature of the virus or else sheer greed.
Only now, that more and more countries are going into shutdown mode, have airlines seemingly come to understand the impact their operations have had on making the spread possible and are beginning to pull the proverbial plug.
Tourism and aviation are now the hardest hit economic sectors around the world, and with more than 10 percent of global GDP generated by these sectors, and 1 out of 10 employed workers having jobs in tourism and aviation, will the fallout for them not just massive but almost unpredictable, with layoffs spreading and millions of families around the world staring at the prospect of losing their income, as few countries have the level of unemployment benefits found for instance in Scandinavia or member states of the EU.
ATCNews expresses commiserations to all of them and joins them in their hope that the outbreak can be brought under control and life as we all know it return to the resemblance of normality.