Friday roundup: China & Russia close air borders, no aid for U.K. airlines

Russia and China have both closed their borders to incoming travellers. The Russians have little idea how many real Covid19 cases they have, but the number of patients is rising rapidly.

China is now more afraid of inbound infections from Chinese returning home or foreign visitors. A new outbreak in Shanghai was entirely started by returnees from the U.K.

The U.K. government told airlines and airports they weren’t getting any bailout money, unless they were literally on the point of collapse.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the industry it should look to its own shareholders to raise funds. Airports were especially aggrieved. However the chancellor pointed out that all airlines were eligible for the governments 80% subsidy of salaries up to £2500 per person, so layoffs weren’t necessary.

The airlines didn’t help themselves when they wrote to the government asking for permission to delay refunding customers until after the crisis is over. As this is one of their biggest failings – one that receives tens of thousands of complaints each year, it fell on unsympathetic ears.

Elsewhere the number of airlines turning over their 787 fleets to cargo has increased further, with Etihad and Avianca, Bamboo and others jumping on the bandwagon.

Meanwhile Boeing’s massive lobbying effort to make sure it got its own slice of the US $2 trillion bailout – airlines also benefitted – sent its stock price soaring.

In Europe an issue with a disc in the V2500 A320 engine has caused a warning to be issued to all operators to change the part as soon as possible.

Airbus is trying to restart production at its factories having had to work out ways of virus proofing working arrangements. The rate will be slow, but airlines are in no position to take delivery.

It’s now estimated that outside of the US and China, 70% of the worlds aircraft are on the ground.

Growing issues in Africa generally have forced the South African Government into a 21 day quarantine and all flights in and out of the country have been stopped.

Meanwhile in Brazil, the semi-insane President Bolsanaro, an avid Trump emulator, seems to think everything is best ignored and criticised airlines and states for over-reacting. Most of the public seem to think he’s wrong, but without leadership, as in America, things get out of hand quickly.