Asian air travel is slowly recovering, but clearly slower than the rest of the world – It’s still so complicated to fly to Hong Kong


Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, air travel in the Asia-Pacific region was busiest worldwide. However, air traffic in the region suffered the most from the restrictions caused by the pandemic, making it the region with the fewest passenger flights now.

International Airport Association Airports Council Internationalin (ACI) data show that air passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region decreased by 62.7 percent between 2019 and 2021. By comparison, worldwide passenger traffic fell by only 48.3% over the same period, according to ACI.

Air traffic between some Asian countries and Europe and the United States is already showing signs of recovery. Of the developed economies in Asia, Australia, Japan and Singapore have been the first to open their borders.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)According to the Commission, demand for international passenger traffic in the Asia – Pacific region reached 17% of the pre – pandemic level in March. Demand for passenger traffic has been less than 10 per cent of the pre-pandemic level for most of the two years before.

Demand has still recovered weaker than in other world markets, as the market has recovered to 60% of pre-pandemic levels globally.

No more quarantine in Singapore

Of the developed economies in Asia, the city-state of Singapore has opened up to the rest of the world the fastest. When traveling to Singapore, there is no longer a need to quarantine on arrival if the traveler has received all appropriate coronary vaccines. The country can also be reached with a tourist visa.

The opening up of Singapore is already somewhat reflected in the country’s airline results. Singapore Airlines however, only managed to reduce its losses in the second half of the financial year ending in March. The airline’s sales nearly doubled to $ 3.49 billion. The company’s net loss in October – March was the news agency Bloombergin according to $ 90 million.

The improvement in earnings is still significant compared to a year ago, when Singapore’s borders were tight and the airline made a loss of $ 585 million in the second half of the fiscal year.

Closed China

Of the major advanced economies, only China is not opening up its air travel. On the contrary, China has tightened travel restrictions since late March. Foreign flights depart from the country in various ways, in addition to which access depends on, for example, possible curfews from your own residential building.

The only area in China where air travel is somewhat possible is the country’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. However, flights to Hong Kong may suddenly be disrupted, as the airline will be banned from the city if more than five interest-positive people enter its flight or if none of them is missing a document required for travel.

Before flying to Hong Kong, in addition to the negative PCR corona test, the passenger must have an ISO quality certificate from the laboratory that performed the test. In addition, the passenger must have a reserved and self-paid seven-day hotel quarantine, the prices of which easily rise to more than a thousand euros.

Interest rate restrictions, combined with the city’s tightening political situation, have begun to accelerate brain drain, which has raised the prices of some airfares severalfold.

If you can travel and fly to Hong Kong via Qatar, for example, a one-way trip to a European city with a change can take up to 25 hours. Because Qatar Airways flights and the airport must wear a mask at all times, travel requires wearing a mask for at least more than ten hours.

Finnair stopped direct passenger flights between Helsinki and Hong Kong in February when the Hong Kong administration banned flights operated by foreign pilots and Hong Kong cabin crew.

Finnair announced that it will resume direct flights to Hong Kong in the first week of June. Finnair outsourced cabin crew on Hong Kong flights to a person registered in Hong Kong To OSM Aviation during 2015.

Finnair’s cabin crew is likely to remain in quarantine for seven days after each flight. There are only one flight a week in its direction. The travel time of flights will be extended by several hours, as Finnair, like other Western airlines, cannot use Russian airspace. Previously, the direct flight between Helsinki and Hong Kong was about 11 hours.

By Editor

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