COVID-19 forces AAPA into virtual annual meeting

Asian airline association also says meeting for member delegates only

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File photo of the 2018 Assembly of Presidents in South Korea. (PHOTO: AAPA)

Use this oneThe Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) announced Friday (2 October) that its annual Assembly of Presidents, which was scheduled to take place in Japan in November, will now be conducted virtually due to ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions and blanket quarantine requirements in the region.

Subhas Menon, AAPA’s director general, said “we had very much hoped that we could hold a physical meeting in Japan this year, but unfortunately circumstances do not allow for this to happen. Borders remain closed in Asia with onerous travel restrictions. Hence, together with our host Japan Airlines, we made the difficult decision to hold the Assembly of Presidents meeting virtually.  We thank all stakeholders for their understanding.”

Menon added that “prolonged border closures have wider repercussions far beyond the aviation industry, seriously affecting economic and social wellbeing.  We sincerely hope governments will come together soon to pave the way for the resumption of international air travel in a safe and secure manner. Only coordinated and harmonised travel policies and health measures would allow much needed business and social activity to resume.”

This year’s assembly will be restricted to member airline delegates only, AAPA said, with a separate virtual media briefing scheduled at the conclusion of the meeting.

This is not the first association meeting to be moved online. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on 24 September that its 76th annual general meeting (AGM) will take place 24 November 2020 as a virtual event, hosted by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. All member airlines, invited industry partners, stakeholders and media will participate virtually. The move from an in-person event to an online meeting was made because of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements various countries have imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. IATA also announced that the World Air Transport Summit that accompanies the AGM has been cancelled for 2020.

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