What the Coronavirus means for business aviation in China


Carlos Schattenkirchner is regional director of UAS International Trip Support based in Beijing, China. He and his team provide domestic handling services across China, assisting overseas business aviation operators achieve easier access to all categories of business airports in the region.

Responding to the escalating situation caused by the spread of the Coronavirus UAS imparts the following advice.

At the time of writing, news comes of more cases of the disease in mainland China and exported cases to 25 countries including Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Canada, France and Germany.

Our advice is to be aware of the risk of additional administrative measures taken by the government at any time — this can be airport closures, commuting restrictions within cities, and regular temperature screening.

Are any of the FBOs temporarily closed?

No FBO’s in China are closed at the moment. However, changes can happen at very short notice. Entrance screening is being implemented. Passengers from affected areas arriving at these airports with a high temperature may be subject to questioning by local port health authorities, registration for follow-up monitoring, and possible quarantine and testing.

What are you advising your passengers to do if they must travel?

Importantly, bring your own protective mask, hand sanitation liquid, and disinfection tissues — as all these items are now sold out in China. Generally too, always wear a face mask when outside and avoid public areas as much as practicable. Follow local laws and advisories and have the emergency contact of your Embassy ready.

Has UAS’ travel department been diverting flights bound for Beijing and Shanghai?

Until today all business aviation operations to Beijing and Shanghai are running as normal. No diversions or abnormalities have been observed. However, we respect a large number of international airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa and major US airlines American, Delta and United have temporarily stopped flying to Beijing and Shanghai. The USA Center for Disease Control and Presentation has advised citizens against non-essential travel to China.

Is it best to delay China trips?

While a general travel ban has not been issued, we advise postponing travel to China as rapid changes in administrative safety measures are imposed. Hotels are suddenly closing and/or no longer accepting guests for health safety concerns. In addition, regular long-haul shuttle bus services from the capital Beijing and Shanghai city have been suspended indefinitely.

Any traveller from any country can be subject to government health checks if any symptoms are shown. Influenza symptoms, common at this time of year, can be misinterpreted and there is always a risk. It is important to stay on alert and well-informed before and during the visit to China.

If you must travel, what’s your advice?

 Be sure to get the right mask to wear, practice good personal hygiene, keep hydrated and well nourished.

What do we know about Wuhan, where Coronavirus originated?

With 11 million residents, Wuhan is the most populous city in central China and the 7th most populous city in China. It’s main gateway, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport has 45 airlines flying to 109 non-stop destinations in 20 countries. On average, 30,000 passengers depart the airport every day. Since January 23, flights departing Wuhan have been cancelled owing to the Coronavirus outbreak, and only special mission flights (medical, cargo, diplomatic) are being allowed with prior co-ordination.

Has UAS been helping passengers and operators with re-routing requests?

UAS China is currently supporting operators with re-routing alternatives to ensure as little disruption to their schedules as possible.

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