Taiwan’s China Airlines says pilot quarantines will impact cargo operations
Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines Ltd (2610.TW), said on Tuesday that quarantining its pilots to stem a COVID-19 outbreak is expected to affect more than 10% of its cargo capacity, which could potentially affect the island’s exports.
Taiwan has kept the pandemic under control through early prevention, with only sporadic domestic cases, but since last month it has faced an outbreak linked to China Airlines pilots and an airport hotel where many of them they stayed. So far, 35 infections have been confirmed in the outbreak.
The government said Monday it would quarantine all airline pilots for 14 days to stem the spread of the infection. Read more
In a statement, China Airlines said it is cooperating with government instructions and will gradually quarantine its crew in groups, adding that it will do its best to maintain services and will not stop the entire fleet.
“At present, the initial estimate is that around more than 10% of the cargo’s capacity will be affected, and the schedule is still being adjusted,” he added.
Taiwan has a trade-dependent economy and is a major producer of semiconductors, whose supplies are already tight, affecting a range of industries from cars to consumer electronics.
Woods Chen, analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting Corp., said chip exports could be affected.
“Air freight is primarily for the transportation of high value-added products such as technology products, and the biggest impact would be on chip shipments to Taiwan,” he said.
China Airlines stock fell more than 5% on Tuesday morning, underperforming the broader market (.TWII), which was down around 3%.
Taiwanese Minister of Health Chen Shih-chung is due to provide an update on the pilot quarantine plans later Tuesday.
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