By Johanna Menzel
As the outbreak of the coronavirus spreads in Europe, the growing fear of the virus is impacting the stocks of commercial airlines. Large companies have put a stop to international travel and conferences, and some are even requiring people to work from home. Fly Aeolus has summarized some facts about travelling during the coronavirus crisis in its blog “coronavirus travel”.
Airlines have been canceling flights in anticipation of reduced demand and waiving the customary change and cancellation fees. At this stage, even travel medicine specialists don’t have a clear answer as they work toward better understanding the scope of the outbreak.
The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has since spread to at least 108 countries and infected over 119,000 people. Many commercial airlines have canceled flights around the world as a result of the outbreak, which the International Air Transport Association estimates will cost the global airline industry more than 30 billion € in 2020. Little is known about the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. There is no vaccine or treatment, and public health officials are still learning how it spreads. Those whose expertise focuses on Europe aren’t sure how the continent will manage the threat, especially with open borders.
Currently, in addition to Lufthansa, British Airways and Ryan Air, numerous other airlines have cancelled or greatly reduced flights. Anyone affected by this will get their money back.
However, those who wish to cancel a flight themselves for fear of contagion usually have to pay the costs themselves. According to the consumer advice center, there is only a right to a refund if there is a travel warning for the destination. However, some airlines still allow free cancellation or rebooking. Information can be obtained from the respective airline.
At the beginning of March, Lufthansa also said it is planning on cutting its flight schedule by 50 per cent, mainly on short- and medium-haul routes, including to the areas of Italy affected by the virus, but also within Germany, between major German centers such as Frankfurt and Munich. The airline is also considering grounding its entire superjumbo fleet- the A380.
Safety recommendations: coronavirus travel
The best advice that travel doctors can give is to take precautions, avoid areas where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against travel, and avoid travel if you have health problems that could make you more susceptible to infection.
Because of the way air is circulated and filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes. Although the risk of infection in an airplane is low, travelers should try to avoid contact with sick passengers and often wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand disinfectants containing 60-95% alcohol.
Private jet travel during coronavirus crisis
Both companies and individuals pay a lot of money to leave and avoid areas affected by coronavirus.
Since private jets and air taxi’s fly from smaller terminals, passengers do not necessarily have to undergo commercial health and safety checks. As commercial airlines cancel flights around the world due to the coronavirus outbreak, leisure and business travelers increasingly end up with private jet companies. Private jets are more flexible in flying into and out of corona-affected areas than commercial aircraft. Private jet companies have reported increased demand, as commercial aviation takes a hit due to coronavirus travel bans.
The New York Times reports that the number of business jet flights from Hong Kong – a destination close to the epicenter of the outbreak – to North America and Australia in January was up 214 percent year-on-year, and the number of flights from Hong Kong to destinations around the world was up 34.2 percent year-on-year.
The demand was driven by the media: Reports of travel bans, city quarantines, evacuations and new cases are driving the public to become extremely anxious and prefer to stay away from the large and crowded terminals of commercial airports due to the increased exposure.
Avoiding the coronavirus travel crisis
You want to avoid crowded airports and not risk having your flight cancelled because of the coronavirus? Book your private flight today! Take a look at our price calculator to get an overview of our prices. Of course, Fly Aeolus will keep its pilots and staff informed of all developments regarding protection against infection and provide you with a clean and safe Cirrus aircraft.
Please contact us, if you have any further questions!