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Chinese Airlines Resuming Flights to US is a Hopeful Sign of Good to Come

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If it isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel for the U.S. and the coronavirus, then at least a small, good sign for the future perhaps?

Public health experts say not to get too giddy, but coronavirus-cases-china-first-time-epidemic” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>China reported no new domestic cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the first time since the outbreak of the global pandemic began there in mid-December. China’s National Health Commission reported that the 34 new cases in the country were all imported cases, and that none were from the Hubei province where the coronavirus first began.

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“I think it is too early to celebrate. It is likely that a second wave has already started in China, but it may be too early to detect it at the moment,” said Ben Cowling, professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health.

Still, it’s a hopeful sign – as is the fact that Chinese domestic are resuming flights.

According to sfgate.com, the sister site of the San Francisco Chronicle, three Chinese carriers plan to resume non-stop flights to San Francisco International Airport this month

China Eastern will resume a daily non-stop flight this month between its hub in Shanghai and San Francisco using a Boeing 777-300ER jet. Flights are expected to start on Saturday, March 28

Air China plans to resume non-stop flights between Beijing and San Francisco this Saturday with flights operating on a limited schedule, and on sporadic days throughout the week.

China Southern intends to resume its non-stop flight from Guangzhou to San Francisco on March 29. It will operate four times a week, on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets.

Aviation experts do not expect these flights to be full, hence the high price tags for tickets, but they represent a return to business between the U.S. and China. That is particularly true since U.S. airlines Delta, American and United all suspended their flights to China.

Foreign nationals who have been in mainland China for the last 14 days are banned from entering the United States, but U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to return back home provided they self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

As sfgate.com pointed out, all three airlines are majority owned by the Chinese government so operating these flights at near-empty loads and at a financial loss should not be much of a concern for each carrier.

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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