Swine Flu update - 30-Apr-09: Association of Asia Pacific Airlines

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Director General, Andrew Herdman, stated (29-Apr-09) that various measures introduced by governments to combat the outbreak of swine influenze, including travel advisories and border controls, may “do more harm than good” and a “coordinated international response” is needed. Mr Herdman commented that the impact on travel patterns has so far been “minimal”.

Commenting on the current developments regarding the swine influenza outbreak, Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), Mr Andrew Herdman said, “The safety and well-being of the travelling public are always uppermost in our minds. Asia Pacific carriers are well-prepared to handle health crises including those involving communicable diseases.  The industry has established guidelines developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI), including the management of public health events.”

On the important role played by the WHO in responding to the current situation, Mr Herdman said, “We very much appreciate the strong leadership being shown by the WHO in coordinating the global response to the current outbreak, including careful evaluation of the risk of a more serious global pandemic. It is worth noting that the WHO has to date recommended no restriction of international travel, and no closure of borders. It would, however, be prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention.”
Noting that a number of governments have nevertheless introduced various measures including travel advisories and border controls, Mr. Herdman commented, “Such measures, whilst well-intentioned, may do more harm than good. We need a more coordinated international response.”
Regarding the potential effect on travel and tourism, Mr. Herdman said, “So far there has been minimal impact on travel patterns. We believe that passengers can be trusted to make informed decisions, provided that there is open and transparent communication of accurate information.” 
AAPA is closely tracking this emerging issue, and will continue to work closely with other industry stakeholders to ensure prompt dissemination of further updates.