US COVID-19 cases up 30% in 24 hours: CAPA update 24-Mar-2020


Welcome to the latest edition of CAPA’s daily Coronavirus and Aviation global update. We offer this product to our active CAPA Members, as well as visitors to our website to help our industry navigate through this crisis.

Top news headlines:

- TIACA: Bilaterals, slots and quarantines all threaten to interrupt cargo during COVID-19 crisis;

- Indian Government temporarily prohibits all domestic passenger services;

- Air Transat to suspend all operations after 01-Apr-2020, lay off 70% of staff;

- US' failure to take aggressive action promotes it to fastest 20 day infection level - by a factor of 100%

The latest Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Situation

180 countries now affected

Belize was added to the list of countries reporting COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 180.

Confirmed global COVID-19 cases by day (24-Mar-2020)

More than 370,000 cases have been confirmed across the globe.

It took more than three months to reach 100,000 cases worldwide

- but only 12 days to log the next 100,000;

- and four days to reach the next 100,000;

- it is expected to reach 400,000 within the next 24 hours. 

Confirmed COVID-19 cases by day, excluding China (24-Mar-2020)

Top ten locations for COVID-19, excluding China (24-Mar-2020)

Top ten highest increases in infections by location (24-Mar-2020)

United States cumulative cases (24-Mar-2020)

Global mortality rate (yellow line) vs. key locations mortality rate (24-Mar-2020) 

US' failure to take aggressive action promotes it to fastest 20 day infection level - by a factor of 100%

The growth rate of the COVID-19 virus has differed greatly between countries depending on the measures in place to combat the spread.

Aggressive containment in countries like Japan and Singapore has slowed the pace of spread of the virus.

The comparison below shows the growth rate per selected country once each has reached 100 cases, so there are different start dates e.g. that threshold was reached first for Japan, so that country was 27 days in.

Daily increase in COVID-19 cases, selected countries : Day 1 = 100 case threshold

Aggressive containment appears to slow the growth rate (daily counting starts once the country reaches 100 cases)

Air Capacity Update: Iran capacity already 50% down

Iran has been on of the first and hardest hit countries around the world having seen more than 23,000 cases and over 1,800 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

This has meant significant reductions in capacity to the Middle East country. More than 50% of capacity has been removed from Iran since mid-March with further reductions expected.  

Iran weekly total international seat capacity w/c 23-Mar-2020

Aviation & Travel Industry news updates

1. Global

TIACA: Bilaterals, slots and quarantines all threaten to interrupt cargo during COVID-19 crisis

TIACA secretary general Vladimir Zubkov provided (20-Mar-2020) an update on the work of the 'Technical group on joint actions related to COVID-19', which is chaired by ICAO and also includes the WHO, IATA, ACI and Global Express Association. TIACA passed on the following information from its membership:

  • The existing structure of commercial rights within bilateral and multilateral agreements imposes restrictions on the necessity for quick change in air routes which are caused by the necessities for delivery of emergency supplies medications and industry products which are of importance for the global trade and manufacturing recovery;
  • It is important to allow airlines to quickly change the geography of the flights depending on the urgency in deliveries;
  • Slots at airports remain a problem. A good example has been shown by Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which released slots for cargo operations. Other airports would be wise to follow this example;
  • The danger of flight crew to be placed in quarantine after performing flights to destinations which are not considered as clean from the virus and the threat remains very high. Several airlines report problems with training and retraining their crews on flight simulators. Some flight simulators are situated in high risk countries and after visiting these individuals are to be placed in quarantine;
  • Some countries do not allow transit of certain goods through their territories. This involves not only foods, including fruits and vegetables but also other commodities including the masks which initially traveled from Europe to China and now the traffic is reversed, and the masks go from China to Europe and other parts of the world. [more - original PR]

2. Asia

Australia/New Zealand: New Zealand and Australian Governments resolve 'transit issues'

New Zealand's Government reported (20-Mar-2020) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison resolved transit issues between Australia and New Zealand, allowing passengers to return home. 
New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, residents with valid travel conditions and their immediate family can travel to New Zealand, as well as Australian residents and their family who live in New Zealand.
Australian citizens, residents and immediate family are able to transit through New Zealand to Australia, and New Zealand citizens, residents and immediate family are able to transit through Australia to New Zealand. [more - original PR]

India: Indian Government temporarily prohibits all domestic passenger services

India's Ministry of Civil Aviation announced (23-Mar-2020) India's Government plans to prohibit scheduled, non scheduled and private domestic services, commencing 23:59 on 24-Mar-2020.

The measure is aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus and does not apply to domestic freight services, which are permitted to continue operating. India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, via its official Twitter account, stated (24-Mar-2020) the prohibition will remain in effect until 23:59 on 31-Mar-2020. [more - original PR]

3. Middle East:

UAE suspends inbound, outbound and transit services for two weeks

UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority, via its official Facebook account, announced (23-Mar-2020) the suspension of all inbound and outbound passenger services and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for two weeks, as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus. The decision will take effect in 48 hours. Cargo and emergency evacuation flights are exempt.

4. Europe:

Russia restricts intl services from 23-Mar-2020

Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency announced (22-Mar-2020) plans to temporarily restrict international passenger air services from 23-Mar-2020, on the basis of an order issued by the Russian Government on 20-Mar-2020. The ban will not extend to international services from Moscow to a nominated city in 146 countries and charter services operated to the nominated destinations for the return of citizens. [more - original PR].

5. North America:

Air Transat to suspend all operations after 01-Apr-2020, lay off 70% of staff

Transat A.T. announced (23-Mar-2020) Air Transat is gradually suspending all operations, with the final service scheduled for 01-Apr-2020.
Transat is also laying off approximately 70% of its Canadian workforce, or 3600 staff, with some layoffs effective immediately and others to occur with advanced notice of up to one month. Executives who are not being laid off are accepting voluntary pay cuts, including the board of directors. [more - original PR]

6. Latin America:

Brazil suspends the entry of passengers arriving from China, UK, Australia, EU among others

Brazil issued (23-Mar-2020) an order restricting, for 30 days, the access of foreigners arriving from China, EU, UK, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Uruguay and South Korea. [more - original PR - Portuguese] [more - original PR - Portuguese II]

7. Africa

UK Govt: Eight more African countries restrict border entry, Gambia shuts airspace

UK Government issued (23-Mar-2020/Mar-2020) the following foreign travel advice, due to the continued spread of coronavirus:

  • Mozambique: Travellers from all countries with coronavirus transmission required to self isolate for 14 days upon arrival;
  • Madagascar: All international and regional services suspended from 20-Mar-2020 for 30 days;
  • Niger: All international passenger services suspended from 20-Mar-2020 for 14 days, with land borders also shut from 20-Mar-2020 for 14 days. Visitors and Nigerien nationals who arrived from countries affected by coronavirus must self isolate for 14 days;
  • Cape Verde: Services from the UK, US, Canada and a number of European countries were restricted from 18-Mar-2020, with Boa Vista put under quarantine. However, a limited number of services are allowed into the country to enable visitors to return home.
  • Tanzania: Mandatory quarantine required for anyone arriving from high risk countries;
  • Zimbabwe: Screening procedures are in place at all entry points, including airports;
  • South Sudan: International commercial services will be suspended from 24-Mar-2020, and entry will be denied for travellers from affected countries, even with a valid visa;
  • Gambia: Airspace closed from midnight on 23-Mar-2020, with the exception of medical cargo service. Land border with Senegal will be closed, and additional surveillance and detection mechanisms are in place at Banjul Yundum International Airport and other various points of entry. [more - original PR] [more - original PR] [more - original PR] [more - original PR] [more - original PR] [more - original PR] [more - original PR] [more - original PR]

The above is a selection of more than 150 news updates from today’s CAPA Membership coverage specifically on COVID-19, which also covers traffic data, route and frequency announcements, government advisories and more. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.

Additional Analysis (please click on the headings to go to the full story)

During 2019 the focus was very much on environmental opposition to airport expansion as part of the response to ‘climate change’, and also on the air transport business’ tardiness to react cohesively to spokespeople for the environment. In the space of a few short weeks this year the entire ball game has changed, as dodging the COVID-19 coronavirus has become the priority.

But environmental issues remain important, even while the travel and tourism industries are doing their best to stay in one piece and to avoid the loss of aviation companies – airlines, airports, supporting infrastructure – and of millions of jobs.

In some cases the environmental issues are paramount. One such place is Bristol, UK, where local councillors won’t even let the airport build a new car park while public transport access is inadequate.

Qantas cuts deep, but well placed to weather COVID-19

Like almost every airline around the globe, Qantas has been blindsided by the freight train that is the Covid-19 outbreak.

The abruptness of the airline’s change in outlook has been dramatic. A few months ago Qantas was comfortably on track and focusing on new aircraft orders; on 20-Feb-2020 its share price rose almost AUD1.00 to AUD6.67 following its 1H results announcement and its forward looking plans to combat the threat; by 19-Mar-2020 that price had slumped to AUD2.14.

Now the airline is announcing previously implausible measures as it cuts back its network, fleet and workforce.

The carrier has acted swiftly and has not been afraid to make drastic moves – a hallmark of the current management in everything from crisis management to labour relations.

International operations will be suspended completely, with domestic capacity cut by 60%. About 150 aircraft will be grounded, and two thirds of the carrier’s 30,000 employees will be stood down.

Tough measures, but in the circumstances – entirely judicious.

As the number of global COVID -19 coronavirus cases continues to grow, world airline capacity declines are accelerating weekly.

Asia Pacific has been hardest hit, although the rate of seat decline has slowed, mainly reflecting a flattening of the curve of COVID-19 cases in China. By contrast, the rate of fall in Europe, Middle East and Africa is accelerating. North America is relatively stable so far, while Latin America capacity is still growing (but growth has slowed).

Current OAG schedules data (combined with seat configuration data from the CAPA Fleet Database) show a year-on-year fall in global seat capacity of -14.7% for the week of 16-Mar-2020 – the fastest drop so far this year. They also project that the decline will narrow to -4.0% by the end of Apr-2020.

However, these statistics inevitably lag reality, and will do so until forward looking schedules data fully reflect recent (and still evolving) airline plans to shrink further. Moreover, demand is falling faster than capacity.

World Health organisation data on COVID -19 cases are likely to remain the best (and only) lead indicator for aviation while the current crisis lasts.

The above is a selection of in-depth insights on the latest developments in the aviation and travel industry related to the COVID-19 outbreak. CAPA Membership includes a range of reports featuring accurate data and independent commentary from our global team of analysts, who offer a unique perspective and actionable insights to help improve decision making. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.

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