While Most Airlines Bar China Routes, Etihad Airways Continues Service
As the world continues to deal with rising fears about coronavirus, the aviation industry has witnessed the most fallout. Responding to the outbreak, Etihad Airways has confirmed that it will continue to fly to China. In order to prevent further spread of the virus, the second-largest airline of the UAE said that it will work closely with key stakeholders in China and Abu Dhabi.
In a statement sent to Arabian Business, Etihad Airways said, “Extensive measures have been adopted by medical and aviation authorities in China and the United Arab Emirates, including thermal screening of passengers and crew prior to departure from airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong, and on arrival in Abu Dhabi, where dedicated gates have been set aside. The Etihad Aviation Group stands ready to take more actions based on informed advice.”
The statement highlighted the company’s claim to comply with directives and take all appropriate measures, in accordance with the guidance of national and international health authorities and regulators.
For guests who would like to cancel or rebook their flights to or from mainland China/Hong Kong, Etihad Airways has extended its waiver policy. From safety point of view, it said, “The safety and wellbeing of its passengers and employees is the highest priority of Etihad Airways, which continues to collaborate with authorities and industry partners on this important issue.”
Many other airlines including Air India and IndiGo also announced cancellation of some flights to Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong. Lufthansa, the flagship carrier of Germany has cancelled flights to mainland China till February 9. The first major airline to totally suspend flight was British Airways, which was soon followed by Indonesia’s Lion Air Group.
Reports claim that both Air France KLM and Lufthansa have witnessed a 13 percent reduction in share prices this month. Another airline, Royal Caribbean estimated that 2020 earnings would be affected by $0.20 per share.
A similar disease outbreak in 2015, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, had severely affected the people and businesses in the Middle East and South Korea. With a fatality rate of 38 percent, the South Korean market underwent a significant fall out. However, passenger volumes recovered within two months.
In such circumstances, it remains to be seen if the decision of Etihad Airways does not bring in ill for people travelling in and to the UAE.
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