Private and commercial aviation under threat amid Covid-19
As tighter border controls kick in amid the Covid-19 outbreak, business for both private and public commercial flight services in the air transport industry have declined.
Dr Rowena Kwan, director of Chiron Flight Services, a Singapore-based medical aviation service provider offering chartered medical flights, said it has seen substantial losses over the last three months.
She cited a revenue loss of more than $300,000 in January to March this year, compared with the same period last year.
She told The New Paper: "Business has been getting worse, especially with more border restrictions kicking in around the world. We've received enquiries from customers, but we aren't able to close transactions."
Ms Yvonne Chan, managing director of Universal Aviation, which provides ground-handling operations for private and chartered flights at Seletar Airport, said there have been fewer than 10 flights over the past week.
She said: "Usually we see about 30 flights a day. Since February, it has been very difficult to sustain business. With the border restrictions, jobs and incomes are even more at stake."
UPTICK & DOWN
Mr Stefan Wood, director of Singapore Air Charter, said it saw an uptick of chartered flights early this month as a surge of people were scrambling to get home amid announcements of lockdowns and travel restrictions.
But business has been down the past week with tighter border controls, he added.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) on Tuesday projected commercial airlines worldwide could see a US$252 billion (S$364 billion) loss in revenue this year.
Iata - which represents 290 airlines, or approximately 82 per cent of global air traffic - said this would be in a scenario where severe travel restrictions last for up to three months, followed by a gradual economic recovery later this year.
The latest figure is more than double the US$113 billion revenue loss it predicted on March 5.
Alexandre de Juniac, Iata's director-general and chief executive officer, said the airline industry is facing its gravest crisis. "Airlines are fighting for survival in every corner of the world. Travel restrictions and evaporating demand mean that, aside from cargo, there is almost no passenger business. For airlines, it's apocalypse now." - TATIANA MOHAMAD ROSLI