- Title: Postcards from empty airports around Asia
- Date: 12th March 2020
- Summary: SAMUTPRAKAN, THAILAND (MARCH 12, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRAVELLERS QUEUING AT CHECK-IN COUNTERS
- Keywords: Australia Beijing COVID-19 Haneda Airport Incheon Indonesia Jakarta Japan Singapore South Korea Sydney Airport Thailand Tokyo airports coronavirus quarantine restrictions travel bans travellers
- Reuters ID: LVA003C4QVNT3
- Location: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA /TOKYO, JAPAN/BEIJING, CHINA/SAMUTPRAKAN, THAILAND/JAKARTA, INDONESIA/SINGAPORE/INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA
- City: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA /TOKYO, JAPAN/BEIJING, CHINA/SAMUTPRAKAN, THAILAND/JAKARTA, INDONESIA/SINGAPORE/INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: Various
- Duration: 00:00:14
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Story Text: First, masks and thermal cameras began to greet passengers as they disembarked, and aeroplanes were thoroughly disinfected between flights.
Then planes started to empty as countries closed borders to the hardest-hit regions, airlines consolidated flights, and people reconsidered travel plans.
Now, a stroll through most of Asia's airports in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak is a surreally sobering experience.
"Please keep one metre away from each other while queuing," reads a sign on an orange board at the Beijing Capital International Airport that passengers pass as they check in for flights, some in full protective suits, or plastic ponchos to protect their clothes.
In January, passenger numbers through Beijing Capital International Airport fell 15.4% year-on-year to 7.295 million. February's figures are expected to be worse.
China's aviation regulator said on Thursday (March 12) that airliner passenger flow had dropped by 84.5% in the month of February alone, causing a 21 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) fall in revenue.
Tokyo's huge Haneda airport had a similar deserted feel on Thursday. In March last year, over 1.6 million people passed through this airport, but now gleaming floors and restaurants devoid of people can be seen instead.
Japan has suspended hundreds of flights countrywide as a result of a drop- in passenger traffic since February.
Incheon International Airport, South Korea's largest Airport, was also largely deserted on Thursday. Seoul's Gimpo International Airport, which mainly served overseas routes to Japan and China, had no international flights on Thursday for the first time in 40 years.
There appeared to be regular flows of human traffic at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Nevertheless, international passenger flights going in and out of Thailand has decreased by 40%, according to Suvarnabhumi Airport deputy director, Kittipong Kittikajorn, who addressed media on Thursday.
Singapore's Changi Airport, however, appeared largely empty on Wednesday (March 11) evening, as was Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Thursday afternoon.
According to Changi's official website, the airport had a 32.8% drop in passenger flow in February in comparison to that of last year's data for February.
Indonesia's flight authority said that for the month of February, passenger flow in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport dropped by 4-5%, and flight frequency decreased by 6% in comparison to last year's data.
Crowds of passengers could be seen queuing up at the departures terminal in Sydney Airport on Thursday. Sydney Airport said that international traffic in the airport fell by 16.8% in February in comparison to last year's data.
Airline stocks went into a tailspin on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump put in place a month-long restriction on travel from Europe to the United States to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Airlines could lose up to $113 billion in revenue this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned last week.
(Production: Akiko Okamoto, Daewoung Kim, Yuddy Cahya Budiman, Thomas Suen, Vorasit Satienlerk, Jiraporn Kuhakan, Joseph Campbell, Juarawee Kittisilpa, Akira Tomoshige, Jill Gralow)
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