Aviation Sector Warns Against ‘Start-Stop’ Border Policies

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900
Credit: Rob Finlayson

Airlines and manufacturers are urging industry players to be patient on the relatively gradual recovery in Asia-Pacific, and to prevent borders from going into a “start-stop-start” scenario, which in turn would be more detrimental for airline and supply chain operation.

Speaking at the Aviation Week Asia Aerospace Leadership Forum panel, Jetstar Asia CEO Barathan Pasupathi said that the airline is now speaking to numerous tourism agencies after coming out from a “long hard winter” and has observed that each market has different approaches to reopening. Pasupath said, unlike some industries, airlines cannot react like a factory to a “start-stop-start” border protocols since aircraft, staff livelihoods and safety must be considered.

Passenger booking cycles are becoming shorter, Pasupathi added, and airlines need the flexibility to change schedules in response to unpredictable border situations.

Airbus commercial aircraft SVP Southeast Asia Chris Drewer said that in the unstable world of recovery and re-openings, one of the challenges for aircraft manufacturers are not the diversification of production lines but deciding when to ramp up production and keeping a stable supply chain.

Pasupathi and the panel agreed that while passengers now think they are safe from catching the coronavirus while on an aircraft, they are nonetheless put off by the prices of tests and the complex paperwork required to fly. Pasupathi said the industry, including, manufacturers, airlines and governments should work as a single entity to standardize health requirements and bring down health test prices to encourage people to fly again.


Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.