Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], Apr 13 (ANI): The number of flights operated by Asia Pacific airlines in April first week declined by 93 per cent compared to normal levels of traffic established at the beginning of 2020 amid border closures, shutdowns and lockdowns, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said on Monday.
It appealed 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.
AAPA Director General Subhas Menon said the current COVID-19 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.
"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," he said in a statement.
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.
Worldwide demand for air cargo declined by 19 per cent in March compared to the same month last year but is holding up relatively well despite economic disruption in many economies following measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
AAPA said the goods being shipped by air cargo include significant volumes of pharmaceuticals, medical protective equipment and food supplies.
"Having been forced to cancel thousands of flights, airlines are also having to deal with very large volumes of related booking enquiries and requests from travellers. Airlines have endeavoured to be flexible by offering refunds, open-ended deferrals of travel, flexible change or rerouting options and waiver of change fees as appropriate," it said. (ANI)