Never has the trope been more apropos — where there’s a will there’s a way.
In the wake of the cancellation of thousands of regular flights due to the coronavirus epidemic in China and Asia, auto parts manufacturers have joined hands and found a way to maintain the crucial supply of their products, Yicai Global reported.
The firms are delivering their products to Ford Motor, General Motors and other international clients using charter flights, an emergency step intended to get around the disruption caused by the coronavirus epidemic, the report said.
SAIC Motor’s SAIC Anji Logistics has arranged 16 charter flights to bring parts, sourced from firms in Shanghai and Chongqing, to GM’s plants in North America, Brazil, and Argentina, The Paper reported. The Shanghai-based carmaker’s delivery arm will also fly parts to Ford’s two factories in Thailand within a week.
Charter flights are an emergency measure, the car logistics company said. Later on SAIC Anji will return to using its main means of transport, shipping, complemented with occasional cargo flights, the report said.
It said the most significant spike in requests came after January 24, after the Chinese government had belatedly acknowledged human-to-human transmission and once confirmed cases in China increased above 1,000, the report said.
According to Harry Clarke, Avinode’s head of insights and analytics, increases in requests for flights out of China came from all regions of the world, but especially for destinations such as Israel, Canada, Switzerland, the UK, Germany, and Australia.
“As most of the flights departing China are intercontinental, 88 percent of requests are for long-range-capable aircraft,” he reported.
“Of these, 50 percent of aircraft are ultra-long-range, 26 percent are heavy jets, 10 percent are VIP airliners, and 2 percent are airliners. The remaining 12 percent is split between super-midsize and midsize jets, with just 1 percent of requests for light jets. The most popular aircraft types are the Bombardier Global Express/XRS, Dassault Falcon 7X, and Bombardier Challenger 604/605.”
Asia-based charter broker Apertus Aviation said that demand for flights from the region was already high due to the Lunar New Year holiday and that it increased markedly once the impact of the outbreak became clearer, the report said.
“We have experienced a surge in inquiries, but there have also been lots of challenges in arranging flights due to the various regulations and restrictions,” company director Ringo Fan told AINonline. “There have been lots of limitations for aircraft owners and crew, and this has effected availability.”
Fan said that Apertus now ensures that aircraft it books carry boxes of face masks and alcohol for disinfecting surfaces.
David Dixon, president of aircraft transactions specialist Jetcraft Asia, indicated that the full impact of Covid-19 is already set to be more far-reaching than that of the SARS virus epidemic in 2002 and 2003.
He explained that this is mainly due to the far stronger connections between China and the rest of the world economy, which means a greater impact in terms of disruption to business and personal travel plans and also problems with the global supply chain for many industries, including aviation.
“If SARS is a pointer to the impact on business aircraft sales there were, in my experience, some buyers who were unconvinced that they needed or wanted a private aircraft until the health threat changed everything,” Dixon told AINonline. “I sold a few arising from this problem. In that sense, it might not be all bad.”