Corona Virus Disease of 2019, or COVID-19, has changed everything about our world in 2020. What started out as a news story in China has shaped a new reality across the globe. As the primary carrier of humans around the world, the airline industry has been significantly impacted. It has all but stopped passenger traffic, as well as impacting air cargo demand, airport workforce and any sort of revenue and cash flow. In short, it is a disaster that keeps on coming.
Here we have gathered all the latest updates from airports around the world. The news here should help you to build an understanding of the health of the sector and guide where you might travel in the coming months.
Vancouver International Airport
The airport has announced a new passenger confidence programme called YVR TAKEcare. The idea of this program is to support passengers as they travel through the airport during the time of COVID-19. Much of the damage done to airlines is yet to happen. While air travel is forced to stop because of government mandate, the airline sector can hope to get bailouts. However, when business resumes as “normal” consumer confidence will be the major barrier to future success in the sector. Therefore, this program by Vancouver International Airport could prove essential.
Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport faces the reality of being in a burgeoning US hotspot for the virus. The number of infections was rising daily in June in California to the point that news outlets were predicting new lockdown measures. The airport is working to increase customer confidence and offer the convenience of PPE for all who travel through the airport.
If you travel through the Southern Californian airport you will find self-service kiosks providing face covers, disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitiser. This is the first airport in California to add these PPE kiosks as a way of safeguarding passengers, and it also continues to deep clean the facilities daily.
Airport Authority Honk Kong
THE AAHK has announced a relief package to be implemented for the local airport community, as the territory continues to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also reducing or waiving various fees for those in the aviation industry. This scheme started in March but hey have now extended it into August 2020.
The news out of the UK is challenging for the aviation industry. The government has imposed a two-week quarantine for anyone flying into the country, which is sure to have a continued devastating impact on the ability of airports like Gatwick to function. Although there are talks about air bridges with other countries, the UK government is shying away from risks after experiencing some of the worst mortality numbers in the world.
Gatwick recently announced some good news though. Norwegian Airlines will resume flights from the airport from the 1st July. Gatwick have promised to put extensive measures in place to protect everyone on board, in line with guidance from national organisations.
London Heathrow Airport
Heathrow, like Gatwick, will feel the threat of government regulation. However, despite this, the airport announced that it has donated more than 5000 FFP3 face masks to the NHS, which brings the total number of masks donated to 16000. The healthcare workers at Hillingdon Hospital have been grateful for this essential PPE. The airport is also stepping in to help local schools. The organisation has given more than 70 laptops to local primary schools, bought with money donated from the Executive Team at the airport. Reaching out across the community in this way by being part of the humanity of the aviation sector when it too is struggling. It is also exceptional customer outreach that will position the airport as essential to the UK.
In May 2020, Frankfurt Airport recorded just over 270,000 passengers. This number represents a decline of 95.6% on numbers from the same month in 2019. The first five months of 2020 showed a decline of nearly 60% in footfall through this major international hub. The trend for declining numbers is, of course, a result of travel restrictions and plummeting demand through to fears of the virus. However, the traffic figures out of Frankfurt also showed that cargo volumes are beginning to stabilise and continue to pass through the airport.
Emirates have benefitted from the astonishing amount of intervention by the governments of the UAE. Such is the state of affairs in the middle east that Fly Emirates is looking to fly to some 30 cities from the 15th June. The flights will pass through cities in Europe, Australasia, the Far East and North America. These flights represent a significant return to business after the airline drastically reduced services earlier this year.
Denver International Airport
The authorities at Denver International Airport reported a sight for sore eyes on the 17th June as the first international arrival touched down after 75 days. The service between Denver and Guadalajara will now fly two days a week for those who need to travel for essential commitments. Although there is no holiday travel passing through, this resumption of air travel across international borders is a relief to the executives at Denver.
What does all this suggest?
The news from around the world of aviation in June seems to suggest cautious optimism. While the numbers are still devastating, there seems to be the greenest of green shoots emerging to offer hope. Airports seem to be adapting and developing schemes that will support passenger confidence. The airlines are looking to find routes back to taking to the air and getting the flow of cash back into their businesses.