Asia Pacific Airlines Maintain Air Connectivity during COVID-19 Pandemic

Disaster response

Amid border closures, shutdowns and lockdowns, Asia Pacific airlines are striving to maintain critical air connectivity to continue transporting important supplies and serve the needs of people who still need to travel urgently, including skilled medical personnel and other essential service providers.

Asian airlines are playing their part during the crisis but need regulatory assistance in
streamlining operations, scheduling flights and crew clearances to carry critical goods and
people anxious to return home. The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) appeals to
Governments for support by granting the necessary flexibility on relaxing slot constraints,
curfews on operating hours as well as by expediting approvals and exempting crew from
quarantine requirements where necessary.

Worldwide demand for air travel has collapsed following border closures and other travel
restrictions. The number of flights operated by Asia Pacific airlines in the first week of April
declined by 93% compared to normal levels of traffic established at the beginning of the
year. In addition to the sharply reduced schedule of passenger operations, several Asia
Pacific carriers have been mounting additional flights on an ad-hoc basis, to meet the
demand for repatriation flights for stranded passengers to return to their home countries.
Such flights often involve working with governments and national regulatory authorities to
obtain the necessary clearances given the many restrictions currently imposed on
international travel.

AAPA Director General, Mr. Subhas Menon, said, “The current crisis is taking an enormous
toll on Asian economies and people’s livelihoods across the region. Some 50 million people
work in travel and tourism alone within the Asia Pacific region. We recognise and applaud
the efforts being made by many governments to offer financial assistance and support to
the aviation industry as well as the wider travel and tourism sector.”

Mr. Menon added, “The Asia Pacific aviation community is strongly committed to continuing
to work closely with governments, public health authorities, and other international bodies
to both respond to current challenges, and at the same time begin to make plans for
recovery. Aviation has always been a key driver of economic and social development,
nowhere more so than in the Asia Pacific region, and will play an important role in the
overall recovery effort.”