Asia's storm season poses huge risk to grounded planes

Asia's storm season poses huge risk to grounded planes | Insurance Business

Asia

As storm season approaches for Asia, many airlines, airports and insurers in the region are likely to face an abnormal amount of losses, due to damage to the hundreds of aircraft grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by Reuters, several major airports in storm-prone areas such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, and India are now all but parking lots for planes, with flights almost at as a standstill due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“If you have got those aircraft on the ground, you can imagine to get them back up and running in a short space of time is no easy thing,” Gary Moran, head of Asia aviation at Aon, told Reuters. “The challenge is you can have a typhoon or hurricane coming and there are going to be a lot of aircraft that aren’t going to be able to be moved in time.”

Aviation insurers, which are already under pressure to refund a large portion of crash risk premiums due to the lack of flights, are now facing another large risk, with lots of airplanes crowded together at airports. This means a single event, such as a strong storm, could damage many aircraft simultaneously.

According to the report, Airports Council International (ACI) is set to issue guidance for airport operators, warning that flying the planes out of danger, the practice in normal times, may not be possible at this time. The council said that additional precautions, such as more tie-downs, should be implemented.

Moran said that airports must make sure that they do not have any loose equipment that could be blown off in a storm and damage plains, or else they could be held liable.

“The airport is supposed to maintain a safe environment for the aircraft. That is their duty of care,” he said.