Global aircraft charter company, Air Charter Service (ACS) – with offices in Johannesburg – says it has been inundated with requests for charters relating to the travel disruption caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus throughout China and Asia.
ACS’s Commercial Director, Justin Lancaster, comments: “Since the outbreak, our offices around the world have been arranging flights on local charter aircraft as the world deals with the travel disruption and overall cut to capacity to the region.”
He says the charter company has flown everything from four passengers on a private jet to hundreds on larger aircraft, and 100 tonnes of surgical masks.
“Some customers have tried to avoid infection by flying with their families on private jets rather than travelling on commercial aircraft with a large amount of people. Several organisations, as well as governments, have evacuated en-masse on larger aircraft, such as an Airbus A380.
Lancaster says ACS has faced various challenges in booking the flights, including passengers requesting crew that had not been to China since the beginning of January, clients not willing to put their cargo on aircraft that have recently been to the region.
“Perhaps our biggest challenge is ensuring that all government and medical advice is followed to prevent spreading infection. This week we had to cancel four flights due to changes in regulations in certain countries,” he says.