Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 4:23 pm

Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 1:08 pm

I am in Singapore and cannot help but notice the impact that SARS is having on flights out of here. I was supposed to go to Manila tomorrow but the client does not want to see us until after this has all died down! Furthermore, whenever I now go through Changi or KLIA, everything does seem much quieter (and how many taxis in Singapore are now empty?!). My friends who work for banks here are telling me that they are not allowed to fly and some traders are being isolated from other employees so that they can continue to trade even if things get really bad! All these people not flying must be having a major impact. A colleague of mine has just cancelled a trip to London because he has heard that flights from SG to London are now being screened at LHR and that if suspicious, they will put you into immediate quarantine.

Anyway, although CX has reduced its number of flights, I now see that the Financial Times is reporting that SQ is to cut a further 60 flights in the region on top of the 65 that it cut last month due to Iraq. Given the fact that Asian aviation was supposed to be the only strong area in the world, this must be very bad news.

Does anybody have any numbers on the impact that this is all having? I hear all this anecdotal evidence, but if anybody has concrete information that would be great....

PS. The greeting that people in Singapore now have is "so, when was the last time you were in Hong Kong or China"!
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 4:19 pm

As I read in the Swiss newspaper "Tages-Anzeiger" LX had an impact of between 2 and 4 percent on some asian routes.
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 4:51 pm

It'd probably be difficult to measure how many people are refusing to fly because of Sara, how many people are refusing to fly because of war with Iraq, and how many people are refusing to fly for an array of other reasons.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 5:47 pm


I think that the reason people aren't flying in Asia is far less to do with Iraq and far more to do with SARS. Admittedly anecdotal, but many of my friends were more than happy to fly until about a week or so ago, but now will do everything possible to avoid flying. And there are now many reports of companies cancelling overseas functions. My company, for example, had organised an internal meeting in Phuket, but that has now been cancelled. The number of cases so far is quite low but concern is high, and airlines are seen as one of the reasons for its rapid spread...
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 5:50 pm

AC's loadfs out of YVR to PVG and HKG are under 100 pax
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 7:14 pm

Its VERY BAD in Hong Kong.

CX, KA, CI, MU, CZ, SQ, VN, BA and others have cancelled flights. Just today the W.H.O. told the world... DON'T VISIT HONG KONG !!


09:30 CX 465 Taipei Cancelled
10:20 MU 571 Shanghai Cancelled
10:25 KA 435 Kaohsiung Cancelled
10:45 KA 623 Hangzhou Cancelled
11:00 CX 912 Manila Cancelled
11:20 KA 813 Nanjing Cancelled
11:45 TG 600 Bangkok Cancelled
12:20 MU 589 Shanghai Cancelled
12:40 KE 615 Busan Cancelled
13:30 KA 841 Chongqing Cancelled
13:50 KA 907 Beijing Cancelled
14:10 JL 733 Tokyo Cancelled
15:25 MU 573 Shanghai Cancelled
15:40 CZ 383 Xiamen Cancelled
16:20 MU 595 Shanghai Cancelled
16:45 KA 641 Ningbo Cancelled
17:00 CX 467 Taipei Cancelled
18:15 BR 871 Taipei Cancelled
19:05 CI 627 Kaohsiung Cancelled
20:05 CZ 313 Shantou Cancelled
20:20 MU 591 Shanghai Cancelled
21:00 CX 784 Denpasar Cancelled
21:30 MU 539 Hangzhou Cancelled
21:30 KA 897 Shanghai Cancelled
22:00 VN 792 Hanoi Cancelled
22:45 SQ 868 Singapore Cancelled

Picture this. On the streets, MTR (underground), Office etc about 90% of people are now wearing masks.

As far as I know this has never happened before so you have to try and understand how worried the people in Hong Kong are.
Bush, your a sad, sad man.
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 9:08 pm

BTW, the UK Foreign office has advised British people against travelling to Hong Kong and Southern China today! There is even talk of suspending Cathay Pacific's services, pending medical advice! This is serious.

Still, I'm flying EVA Air LHR to BKK tomorrow, so it doesn't bother me!
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Wed Apr 02, 2003 10:39 pm

An AA flight from Asia was quarantined last night in California. 5 people, including some crew were sick with SARS. Not good.
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 12:58 am

Update: AA flight turned out to be a false alarm - no SARS evident
Posts: 280
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 11:05 am


Are they really going to stop CX flying?!

I now see that Switzerland has banned visitors from Singapore, Hong Kong and China from a conference being held there and that France, the US, Canada, Ireland and Australia are now warning people not to travel to the affected areas. But does anybody have any numbers on the actual impact this is having on passenger volumes?
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 11:29 am

I canceled my trip to Singapore that I was scheduled to make next week. I was to make a connection in Hong Kong for the final leg to Singapore. I was concerned about arriving in Singapore on a flight from Hong Kong. How would I feel if I caught SARS on the plane and brought another case into Singapore? For how long would I be quarantined if I even had so much as a cold or fever? I was really sorry to have to cancel, as I made my reservations last October. I was looking forward to staying at the Hotel Asia again, riding the MRT, and visiting the Night Safari. But I figured it would be better not to go at this time. United Airlines let me cancel without penalty, and I now will spend that week in Anchorage, Alaska.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 11:58 am

I went through Changi on Sunday evening. Much quieter than usual. Even the SQ flight I took to Sydney later that evening had only 258 pax aboard. I've been on SQ221 many times before, and that's the first time I've seen it that empty. Worse still, connected on a UA flight monday morning from SYD-MEL. Only 60 pax aboard a 744. Needless to say the thing took off like a rocket. Yup they're hurting. On some screens in Sydney airport you can see POB numbers, and I can't recall which one it was, but there was a long haul QF flight going somewhere that had only 16 pax.

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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 1:56 pm

Shortfinals, I was curious how did you manage to fly UA on SYD-MEL? UA does not even offer that segment on their website. As far as all the gate agents in SYD told me, the flight always goes out empty because United does not have the rights to pick up local traffic in Sydney to go down to MEL. All those 60 people are continuations from UA 815 from LAX. I only thought UA standby passengers like myself could travel on that segment. Or was I not told the full story on that?

I know that UA flights to Asia are also having a very hard time right now. Pretty sad to see such low numbers! Hopefully things will settle soon!
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 2:08 pm

From Today's London Times...,,3-632684,00.html

Basically the International Air Transport Association has concluded that airlines could lose GBP6.5bn, although the extent to which this is due to SARS is not detailed. However, interesting that it says that BA has cancelled one of its two daily flights to HK and is now overnighting its crews up in BKK instead of HK.
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 2:26 pm

Kai Tak Fan,

I don't really know how, as UA doesn't have the traffic rights b/w MEL-SYD. But I've done this quite a few times...for mileage run purposes. I don't know how this happens, but I just book it, issue the ticket and off I go. All this happens through my travel agent, who pulls it up straight from Abacus. Just trying to help UA out if I can.

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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 3:00 pm

How nice that you can catch that flight! Everyone at UA appreciates any bit of help you give! I forgot to mention, I love that rocket ship take off style that the 747-400 does out of SYD and MEL! Sure is strange to have a 20 second take off run out of MEL to SYD and then have a 1 minute take off run 2 hours later from SYD-LAX!!
Posts: 413
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 3:38 pm

I just talked to a friend of mine that does the check-in for CX in FRA. She said that the load factors were below 50 %. I think that - despite that any time would have been a bad time for SARS - there could not have been a worse time for this to happen with the war in Iraq going on.

Then I saw a LH flight attendant on TV which said that LH allows their flight attendants to wear masks during flights to HKG.

Airbus A340-600 - the longest temptation in the sky
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 4:19 pm

Then again, the mask is not effective as the virus is still small enough to filter through it!
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 5:04 pm

Things have certainly changed. I flew CX yesterday btwn SIN and BKK and all cabin attendants were wearing surgical masks. Detected a clear (and understandable) level of tension and nervousness amonst the crew. It was quite an empty B777-300 and I guess it would get emptier.
I'm now awaiting a Swiss flight back to SIN and was told at check in there were 40 pax booked and only 1 (me) in Business.
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2000 6:00 pm

RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 7:54 pm

Hye Guys,
Air New Zealand just cancelles their daily flights to HKG!!
Sad, but it just isnt viable to go their anymore, though i do think the NZ government had soemthing to do with it!

And peace
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2003 4:55 pm

RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Thu Apr 03, 2003 8:11 pm

Whoa there AirNewZealand

The press announcement reads...

Air New Zealand has cancelled some flights on its Hong Kong and Japan routes in May and June because forward bookings have dropped off, the airline said today.

However, it will still fly to Asia despite rising fears over the outbreak of pneumonia-like virus severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars).

Sars has killed nearly 80 people and infected 2300, mostly in China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Air NZ says customers who have booked flights before yesterday but who want to heed Health Ministry advice to delay non-essential trips can postpone their flights until July 31.

Air NZ's customer support policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it supported the ministry's travel advisory, the airline said in a statement.

... so only some flights have been cancelled. Read past the headline !
742; 744; DC10, DC3, 321, 320, 319, 170,190, 772, 773,333, 346, 343
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RE: Sars - Impact On Flights?

Fri Apr 04, 2003 3:49 am

HKG has seen many flight cuts and will undoubtedly see more in the coming days & weeks as demand for travel into & out of Hong Kong lessens further. Depending on the duration of the outbreak here, these flight cuts are temporary. Once the SARS outbreak is contained (most probably by the end of the month, I hope), I think it will take some period of time before the traveling public has the confidence to travel to Hong Kong, and the airlines may decide to keep the reduced number of flights to HKG for a little while longer.

Hong Kong has an excellent reputation for being a very resilient economy, and a city that can quickly recover from a crisis.


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