Coronavirus In China: Shanghai, China’s financial hub and its most populous urban centre, is grappling with the country’s largest COVID outbreak, locking down nearly all of its 26 million residents and massively disrupting daily life and business.
Chinese authorities are telling foreign airlines they must have more empty seats on international flights when they arrive at Shanghai’s Pudong airport, sources said on Thursday, as part of measures to prevent the importation of COVID-19 cases.
Shanghai, China’s financial hub and its most populous urban centre, is grappling with the country’s largest COVID outbreak, locking down nearly all of its 26 million residents and massively disrupting daily life and business.
Two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that flights arriving into Shanghai from abroad would have to have a load factor – an airline industry measure of seat occupancy – of just 40% from next Monday till the end of the month.
That compares with a previous load factor cap of 75%, as air authorities look to limit international passenger arrivals and help prevent infections spreading within planes.
The move will likely add to headaches for many travelers stranded abroad as international capacity to and from China has remained at only a fraction of its pre-COVID level. The country has stuck to a zero-COVID policy of stamping out all cases regardless of the economic costs.
“If they cannot get COVID under control (in Shanghai) and extend it beyond April, that’s going to be very challenging for everyone,” said an industry source.
The country’s aviation regulator has also suspended a growing number of international flights in recent months under its “circuit breaker” system as Omicron cases surge overseas, prompting the U.S. government to retaliate and cancel flights by Chinese carriers.
International flights to Shanghai operated by domestic airlines have already been diverted to land elsewhere from March 21 to May 1, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in March.
The CAAC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Source : Ndtv.com