NEWS Round-Up April 12-April 16

ASEAN, coronavirus, airlines, lockdown



  • COVID-19 is the official reason behind the decision taken by Vietnam Airlines to pull out the plug on Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodia’s national carrier. Vietnam Airlines has 49 percent of the shares the rest being in the hands of the Cambodian government. The Cambodian national carrier has never been able to capture a large share of the Cambodian market due to high competition and the presence of another half-dozen airlines registered in the Kingdom. In its audited report for 2019, Vietnam Airlines has said that difficult operating conditions, stiff competition by home grown airlines has pushed the founding partner to opt for a decision to sell its stake. The airline has five aircraft A321 and two ATR72 and serve six destinations. It is rumoured that the struggling airline could be sold by July and bought back by one Cambodia-registered private airline, certainly from China…


  • Bali continues to show resilience to not implement a semi-lockdown known in Indonesia as “large-scale social restrictions” (PSBB) , similar to what is experiencing Jakarta, West Java, Pekanbaru in Riau as well as other regions in the country. Bali announced on Wednesday to have 98 COVID-19 cases including two deceased. Bali Governor Wayan Koster claimed that Bali had not seen a large number of local transmissions, blaming-like many politicians around Asia- the rise in cases to foreigners. In a Monday press conference, Koster said implementing the large-scale restrictions would require at least two conditions. “ First, the region would need to record many COVID-19 cases. Second, the spread of the virus would need to be high and have a big potential to cause fatalities and other misfortunes,” said Koster. He explained on Monday that only eight cases were caused by local transmission. Closed borders and the cancellation of all international flights except to repatriate Balinese migrants has been implemented since March.


  • The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sandakan, Sabah is calling for the general public to provide donations to continue its conservation activities for its 43 Borneo sun bears.

BSBCC founder and CEO Wong Siew Te explained to news agency Bernama that reserve funds can last only for a couple of weeks. The movement control order (MCO) imposed on March 18 and to be in force until April 28 due to Covid-19 has left the centre with no choice but to close its doors to the paying public, one of the key revenue contributors.

“With the Covid-19 MCO, we do not have visitors, which means that we also do not have any income, ” he said, adding that there have been no international visitors or tourists due to the pandemic. “So, this is a big challenge for us right now, to source sufficient funds to run the centre for a certain period of time until everything is back to normal, ” he added to Bernama.

Cuties at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan. — MELODY L. GOH/The Star
Cuties at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan. — MELODY L. GOH/The Star

Wong said the centre spends RM100,000 to RM120,000 monthly on its operations. “I do call for public donations and I hope the general public can support us. It is very important to conserve the sun bears and secure their future. BSBCC cannot fail, ” he said. Sun bears are also known as honey bears.

Wong said the centre was built in 2008 and opened to the public in 2014 with the aim of conserving the sun bears through a holistic approach, which incorporates improvements in the aspects of welfare, education, research, rehabilitation and eco-tourism. The number of visitors almost doubled in six years, recording 84,496 last year compared to 48,506 in 2014. I believe Malaysia, especially Sabah, is the last stronghold for the wild sun bear population because of the relative abundance of forests that we have here in the state, ” Wong Siew Te told Bernama.

(Source: Bernama)


    • National carrier Philippine Airlines released its temptative flight schedule for May. International services are due to resume by May 1st. However, additional changes remain possible in the next few weeks. From Cebu, PAL will fly to Bangkok, Los Angeles, Nagoya, Osaka Kansai, Seoul Incheon and Tokyo Narita. From Clark airport, the airline will fly to Seoul Incheon. PAL will connect Manila to 34 destinations as follows:
      Manila – Bangkok 10 weekly A320/321/330
      Manila – Beijing Capital 3 weekly A321
      Manila – Brisbane 3 weekly A321
      Manila – Busan 1 daily A321/A330
      Manila – Dammam 3 weekly A330
      Manila – Denpasar 4 weekly A321
      Manila – Fukuoka 4 weekly A321
      Manila – Guam 3 weekly A321
      Manila – Guangzhou 4 weekly A321
      Manila – Hanoi 3 weekly A321
      Manila – Ho Chi Minh City 8 weekly A321
      Manila – Hong Kong 1 daily A330/350
      Manila – Honolulu 3 weekly A330-300
      Manila – Jakarta 10 weekly A321 (Resumes 02MAY20)
      Manila – Kuala Lumpur 6 weekly A321
      Manila – London Heathrow 3 weekly A350-900XWB
      Manila – Los Angeles 1 daily 777-300ER
      Manila – Macau 5 weekly A321
      Manila – Nagoya 4 weekly A321
      Manila – Osaka Kansai 1 daily A321
      Manila – Phnom Penh 3 weekly A321
      Manila – Quanzhou 4 weekly A321
      Manila – Riyadh 1 daily A330-300
      Manila – San Francisco 5 weekly 777-300ER
      Manila – Seoul Incheon 2 daily A321/330
      Manila – Shanghai Pu Dong 4 weekly A330-300
      Manila – Singapore 3 daily A321
      Manila – Sydney 3 weekly A330-300
      Manila – Taipei Taoyuan 4 weekly A321
      Manila – Tokyo Haneda 1 daily A321
      Manila – Tokyo Narita 1 daily A321/330
      Manila – Toronto 3 weekly A350-900XWB
      Manila – Vancouver 4 weekly 777-300ER
      Manila – Xiamen 4 weekly A321

(Source: Routesonline-OAG)


    • Airports of Thailand, AOT, has denied to be called to rescue struggling national carrier Thai Airways International. The airport managing company must also cope with a sharp drop in revenue as the Coronavirus pandemic has basically eradicated all travel movements. Passenger numbers across six AOT-run airports are expected to decrease by more than 50 million this year, “and we believe our revenue will drop by 30-40%”, AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said on Monday to the Bangkok Post. A ban on international travellers and international airlines is a heavy blow to AOT as international travellers account for 60% of its total passengers’ outcome.