Bizav Experts: Be Aware Of Travel Risks To China

China flag
Credit: SKopp

Thinking of traveling to China for business?

Business aviation flight support professionals are advising operators to defer all nonessential travel to mainland China and all operations to Hubei amid the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Operations to Chinese airports outside of Hubei may be considered for business-essential flights, but they should be quick turnarounds only, MedAire says. Operators should be aware of any changes in government-imposed travel restrictions and be prepared for short-notice operational and travel constraints if more restrictions are introduced, it said. 

 “Our greatest concern for operators to China is the possibility of a rapid or unexpected escalation of travel restrictions with little-to-no notice, which would, in effect, leave operators and their assets stranded in-country,” said John Cauthen, MedAire Aviation security director. 

Changes are difficult to predict in advance. 

Operators traveling to mainland China should ensure flight plans are flexible and account for the additional time that may be required for health and temperature screenings at transport hub airports. They should also follow the travel advice of their respective governments, it said. 

A total of 564 people have died from the virus, with more than 2,800 confirmed cases as of Feb. 6, the majority of them in China, according to the latest report from the World Health Organization.   

Fixed base operators remain open, although that could change on short notice, according to the most recent data from UAS International Trip Support. Entrance screening is being implemented, and passengers arriving from affected areas with a high temperature may be subject to questioning, possible quarantine and testing. So far, all business aviation operations to Beijing and Shanghai are running normally with no diversions or abnormalities detected, although international airlines have temporary halted flights there, UAS says.

But hotels are suddenly closing or no longer accepting guests for safety concerns, it warns. And regular long-haul shuttle bus services from Beijing and Shanghai city have indefinitely been suspended. 

UAS advises travelers to be aware that the government at any time could close airports, place restrictions within cities and implement regular temperature screenings. 

It advises those who travel to bring protective masks, hand sanitation and disinfection tissues, as they are sold out in China. It also advises them to wear a face mask when outside, to avoid public places when possible and have emergency contact information of the traveler’s proper embassy. 

“Get the right mask to wear, practice good personal hygiene, keep hydrated and well nourished,” UAS advises. 

In addition, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) recommends that travelers have an adequate supply of drinking water onboard before departure, along with gloves and disinfectant gel. While on the ground with passengers onboard, the maximum time without air conditioning or ventilation should be less than 30 min., EBAA advises. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.