Swine flu threatens to adversely affect international passenger traffic and could be even worse than 2003′s SARS outbreak.
In early 2003 when the SARS outbreak was first reported in Hong Kong, airline bosses around the world were too complacent. I remember attending a Star Alliance conference in Seoul when the news of SARS first broke. Not a single airline CEO made mention of SARS at the conference.
At that time, the virus was restricted to Hong Kong and some obscure parts of southern China.
But a few weeks later it became apparent to everyone that SARS had had a huge adverse impact on the airline industry.
Airlines, I believe, have learnt from the mistakes of the past and are now better prepared to deal with this latest flu outbreak.
There is also a real danger swine flu could be more detrimental and scary than SARS. Unlike the SARS virus, swine flu appears to be easily spread from human-to-human transmission.
We can only hope that the World Health Organisation, national health organisations, airports and airlines act quickly and decisively to limit the spread of this killer flu.