How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting business aviation

PT 12 M minute read

Update: The impact of the global coronavirus epidemic is fluid and evolving rapidly. The number of countries enacting travel bans to/from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy and Iran along with imposing restrictions on anyone who has been in those regions within the last 14 days is growing rapidly. While we do our best to keep this article current by adding additional information once it is received and confirmed, always check with your Universal Trip Support Team and local authorities for the most current information. When available, we will provide links to country’s official travel policies.

In early December 2019, a new coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China. Spread of the virus has escalated since mid-January 2020. On Jan. 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global emergency.

Special quarantine and health inspection procedures have been enforced in China and other locations in Asia and around the world in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. Extra planning and precaution is required if you are planning a trip to China and Asia.

Below is a list of precautions authorities are taking to limit the spread that will have an impact on business aviation.

Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau restrictions

Mainland China

As of 0200Z/1000LT on 23 January 2020, all public transportation including flights have been suspended in Wuhan and Wuhan Airport (ZHHH) was subsequently closed.

New health inspections are also being enforced at Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA), Shanghai Pudong International Airport (ZSPD), Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (ZSSS) and Shenzhen International airport (ZGSZ) airports.

For all arrivals/ departures, crew and passengers are subjected to temperature checks. Health Declaration Forms are also required for international arrivals in ZBAA and ZGSZ.

In Shanghai Pudong Airport (ZSPD), effective 28 January 2020, all crew and passengers on international business flights will clear Customs & Immigration procedures in Terminal 1. The complete procedure will be longer than usual due to the latest CIQ requirement.

Hong Kong

On Feb. 25, 2020 HKSAR implemented additional restrictions on individuals entering the country via South Korea.

  • Hong Kong residents returning from Korea (except Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do) will be required to undergo medical surveillance for 14 days.
  • Quarantine orders will be issued under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A) to Hong Kong residents returning to Hong Kong who have been to Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in Korea in the past 14 days and arrange them to stay in quarantine centre for quarantine. (Duration of quarantine centre = Last day leaving Daegu/Gyeongsangbuk-do + 14 days.)
  • Restriction on entry to Hong Kong is imposed on all non-Hong Kong residents who have been to Korea in the past 14 days.
  • All crew members who are non-Hong Kong residents arriving Hong Kong from / have been to Korea (except Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do) within the last 14 days are required to undergo medical surveillance for 14 days. Hong Kong resident crew who has been to Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in past 14 days will be issued with quarantine order and will be required to stay in quarantine centre for quarantine. Restriction on entry to Hong Kong is still imposed to non-Hong Kong resident crew who has been to Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in past 14 days.

HKSAR Government has announced a new inflection prevention and control measures. Effective from 0000L on 8 Feb 2020 (1600Z on 7 Feb), all people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland China will be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Further details will be announced later and we shall keep you updated.

HKSAR has issued an exemption for some people to the compulsory quarantine requirement.

Hong Kong SAR Government announced on 28 January 2020 that all cross-border rail routes (High Speed Rail and Intercity Through Train) and ferries between China and Hong Kong will be suspended starting at 0000LT 30 January 2020 (1600Z 29 January 2020) and services at six border checkpoints (out of a total of 14) will also be closed until further notice. The number of cross-border flights will be halved and the number of cross-border buses will also be reduced.

On Feb. 3, 2020, Hong Kong announced additional cross-border restrictions. In response to the situation of the novel coronavirus infection and having considered the advice of experts, the Government yesterday (February 3) announced that the consolidation of control points must be taken in a more resolute manner in order to further reduce the flow of people between the Mainland and Hong Kong significantly.  Cross-boundary passengers by land or by sea will be converged to Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge control points, while passenger clearance services at four control points – Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, Lok Ma Chau and Macau Ferry Terminal – will be suspended. Coupled with the other control point management measures implemented on January 30, the number of control points with passenger clearance services suspended will increase to 10.

Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC)

On Feb. 26, HKBAC announced the following: The aircraft handling agent / aircraft operator MUST take full responsibility to arrange onward GA/BA flights for any crew member(s) or passenger(s) who is / are being refused entry into Hong Kong.  Taking commercial flights to leave Hong Kong is NOT permitted as the person in questions cannot be transferred to the Passenger Terminal for commercial flights.

HKBAC safety precautions include having temperature check stations at the entrance of the facility.

HKBAC employees will avoid access to all aircraft where possible and only go beyond the aircraft steps if operationally required, such as aircraft towing which cannot be avoided. For any other non-essential issues our employees will not enter the aircraft.

The HKBAC Terminal lounges shall be occupied by aircrew and passengers only. Any other activities within lounge are not advised unless permitted by HKBAC employees.

Please find below the link from Centre of Health Protection, HKSAR Government for the most current information


Effective 24 January 2020, Macau International Airport (VMMC) has implemented  the below temporary measures for all arrival and departure flights.

For ALL GA / BA arrival flights:

  • All passengers / crews are required to complete a health declaration form
  • Ground handling agents will distribute the health declaration form to crew at the aircraft upon arrival
  • Passengers / crews must present the completed health declaration form and passports to the immigration officer at FBO Customs and Immigration hall
  • “Online Health Declaration Form” is NOT accepted
  • Immigration officers will carry out body temperature readings for passengers / crews, body temperature lower than 37.5°C can enter Macau as usual
  • If passengers / crews’ body temperature is higher than 37.5°C, Macau Health Bureau will be informed for further action

For ALL GA / BA departure flights:

  • Immigration officers will carry out body temperature checks for passengers / crews at FBO Customs and Immigration hall
  • If passengers / crews’ body temperature is higher than 37.5°C, they will not be allowed to leave Macau and the Health Bureau will be informed for further action

As of 27 January 2020, all non-Macao residents from Hubei Province, Mainland China must present doctors’ certificates issued by legal medical institutions, stating that they are not infected with coronavirus when entering Macau. Those who cannot present the stated certificates, will be prohibited from entering Macau.

Those people who have been to the Hubei Province in the past 14 days and do not have symptoms will be put under mandatory home quarantine.


On Feb. 26, 2020, Japan again expanded restrictions. Foreign nationals who have been in Daegu Metropolitan City or Cheongdo County in Noth Gyeongsang Province in Republic of Korea within 14 days of arrival in Japan, will be denied entry.

Effective Feb 13, 2020, Japan has expanded its restrictions and is not permitting the following individuals from entering the country:

  • Foreigners who have travelled to Hubei Province in the People’s Republic of China within 14 days before arriving Japan.
  • Foreigners who have Chinese passports issued by Hubei Province in the People’s Republic of China.
  • Foreigners who have travelled to Hubei Province or Zhejiang Province in the People’s Republic of China within 14 days prior to their arrival in Japan.
  • Foreigners who have Chinese passports issued by Hubei Province or Zhejiang Province in the People’s Republic of China.
  • Japan’s notice to airline companies
  • Japans’ Traveler Health Questionnaire

Effective Feb. 7, 2020, all PAX/CREW who physically enter Japan arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macau need to submit a questionairre to clear Quarantine inspection.


On Feb. 26, 2020, Singapore announced additional restrictions:

  • All new visitors with travel history to Daegu city and Cheongdo county in the Republic of Korea (ROK) within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore or transit through Singapore.
  • Returning residents (SCs and PRs) and long-term pass holders (other than work pass holders) with travel history to Daegu city and Cheongdo county in the ROK within the last 14 days will be issued Stay-Home-Notices (SHNs).
  • Returning work pass holders1 (including dependants) with travel history to Daegu city and Cheongdo county in the ROK within the last 14 days will be required to show the MOM approval letter to the airline staff at check-in at the point of departure, and at the ICA checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore, to gain entry into Singapore. Upon entry, they will be issued SHNs.

Effective Feb. 1, 2020, Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will suspend the issuance of all forms of new visas to those with PRC passports issued in China with immediate effect. Previously issued short-term and multiple-visit visas, as well as visa-free transit facilities, for those with PRC passports issued in China , will also be suspended with immediate effect. During this period of suspension, they will not be allowed entry into Singapore.

No one who has been to China in the previous 14 days will be allowed to enter Singapore.

Note: Singapore PR and long-term pass holders are exempted. They will be subject to quarantine measures.


The Civil Aeronautics Board announced on 28 January 2020 that it will stop issuing visas on arrival for Chinese travelers.

On Feb. 2, 2020, the Philippines said that is no longer allowing any person of any nationality coming from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, except Filipino, citizens from entering the country. It also is restricting any person of any nationality, except Filipino citizens, who have been to China in the last 14 days from entering the country.

Foreigners who hold permanent residency in the Philippines can travel to the Philippines from Hong Kong and China but must go into quarantine upon arrival.

For the latest on the outbreak in the Philippines, visit .


The Ministry of Public Health, Thailand will issue Health Beware Cards to travelers arriving in Thailand. At Suvarnabhumi Airport (VTBS), Don Mueang International Airport (VTBD), Chiang Mai International Airport (VTCC), Krabi International Airport (VTSG) and Phuket International Airport (VTSP), thermal scanning is in place for detecting fever and respiratory symptoms.

Please find the attached regarding advisory for travelers in Thailand

United States

Non-US citizens who have been in China within 14 days of their planned travel will not be permitted to fly to the United States. This direction considers a person to have recently traveled from the People’s Republic of China if that person departed from, or was otherwise present within, the People’s Republic of China (excluding the special autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau) within 14 days of the date of the person’s entry or attempted entry into the United States. Also, for purposes of this document, crew, and flights carrying only cargo (i.e., no passengers or non-crew), are excluded from the measures herein. This direction is subject to any changes to the airport landing destination that may be required for aircraft and/or airspace safety as directed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Per the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. is still accepting flights from China, however, if a person on a flight (Commercial or GA) has been in China within the last 14 days they will be routed to one of the following major airports regardless of their final destination for screening. Those airports are:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York;
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois;
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California;
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington;
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii;
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California;
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia;
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

Effective Monday February 3, this list of airports is expanded to include:

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas;
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan

The U.S. State Department released a Travel Advisory suggesting avoidance of all nonessential travel to China.

United Kingdom

The British government is warning against “all but essential travel” to mainland China.


Malaysia has followed the Singapore lead and has ceased visas on arrival facilities for travelers arriving from Hubei.


Russia has barred Chinese tour groups from entering the country. Far East Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea have closed their borders with China.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree temporarily prohibiting Chinese citizens from entering Russia for tourism, work, and for private purposes. The restriction will come into force on February 20. It will not affect transit passengers traveling through Russian airports.

Issuing invitations to enter Russia for Chinese citizens will stop on February 19.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has suspended all visas on arrival from China.


As of 31st January 2020, Italy is now forbidding any flights to/from Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei.  Exceptions include overflights, state, medevac, hospital, humanitarian and cargo flights to/from LIRF/LIMC and those flights specifically authorized by Italian Civil Aviation Authority.

Additionally, in case of an illness suffered by a passenger during a flight heading to Italy, the Pilot in Command must verify if the passenger has been in China in the last 14 days. If so, the flight must proceed directly to LIMC (MILANO/MALPENSA AD) OR LIRF (ROMA/FIUMICINO AD) – the only airports equipped to handle suspected illness due to Coronavirus.

Please note that many Italian Airports are providing a mandatory Health screening to all passengers arriving from international flights.


Effective Feb. 2, 2020 all Passengers and crew with travel history to Mainland China within the last l4 days will not be allowed to enter or to transit through the Maldives.

Notwithstanding the above, Maldivian nationals originating from and transiting through Mainland China will be permitted entry.


On 1 February 2020, the Prime Minister of Australia announced that any foreign travellers who have left or transited through mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 will be refused entry to Australia, in order to minimise the potential spread of Novel Coronavirus.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, legal guardians and spouses will be exempt from these measures, but will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from their arrival into Australia. Limited exemptions also exist for airline and cruise ship crew, where they have taken appropriate precautionary measures.

This website has the latest travel information from the Australian Government.


Effective Feb. 2, 2020, every passenger that stayed in China during the 14 days prior to departure to Israel, Including airline crew members will be refused entry to Israel. This order will not affect passengers travelling with Israeli passport / citizenship. These passengers will be entry to Israel and will received appropriate instruction upon arrival to Israel from the Israeli authorities.

South Korea

South Korea published a new chart which has the most current South Korea restrictions as of Feb. 12, 2020.


Starting Feb. 3, 2020, all flights from or to China’s mainland are forbidden until further notice. Indonesian Government suspends China nationality visa-free entry policy in Indonesia temporarily.


Palau has restricted all flights coming from Mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong. Also all passengers or crew who have traveled through these countries within 14 days.


  • Taiwan Passport Holder & Taiwan ARC Holder:  Are admitted to enter Taiwan
    • Individuals who have visited Mainland China, HKG or MFM within the past 14 days have to have another 14 days of “Home Quarantine” immediately following their entry to Taiwan
    • Effective from 0000L  on 27 Feb, individuals entering from South Korea will have to have a “14-day Home Quarantine” immediately following their entry to Taiwan.
  • PRC Passport Holders: PROHIBITED from entering Taiwan currently
  • HKG/MFM Passport Holders: PROHIBITED from entering Taiwan from 11 Feb on, temporarily.
    • Those who have and hold a special TWN EEP ( issued from 11 Feb on and after) before arrival are required to have  a “14-day Home Quarantine” in Taiwan immediately following their entry to Taiwan.
  • Foreigners (other than HKG/MFM PPT holder):  
    • Those who have  visited Mainland China, HKG, and MFM within the past 14 days are PROHIBITED to enter Taiwan at this moment.
    • Those transiting Mainland China, HKG, and MFM (transit only and not going through immigration) are OK to enter Taiwan,  a “14-day Home  Quarantine” at Taiwan is absolutely required right after they are admitted to Taiwan.
    • Effective from 0000L on 25 Feb, those foreigners bound from South Korea have to have a “14-day Home Quarantine” at Taiwan right after they are admitted to Taiwan.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has implemented additional border measures for people arriving in New Zealand who have travelled in mainland China since midnight on 2 February 2020.

Anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (and their immediate family members) who has been in mainland China since midnight on 2 February 2020 will not be permitted entry to New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens, holders of permanent resident visas, resident visas and immediate family will be exempted from these measures. This extends to Australian citizens or people who hold a current permanent residence visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of Australia, where New Zealand is their primary place of established residence, however a manual intervention from Immigration New Zealand will be required for Australian citizens/permanent residents.


The Government of Bahrain is temporarily preventing entry to all foreign nationals who have visited Iran, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea 14 days prior to their arrival in Bahrain. However entry is permitted for Bahrain and Gulf Cooperation Council citizens, as well as Bahraini residents who have visited those countries, but individuals will be subject to quarantine and enhanced testing procedures.

Bahrain has temporarily suspended all flights arriving from Dubai International Airport and Sharjah International Airport.


On Feb. 25, 2020, Kuwait issued NOTAMs suspending all flights from the following countries to Kuwait International Airport:

  • Thailand
  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Iraq
  • Iran


On Feb. 27, 2020 Turkish officials announced the following:

All passengers traveling to any Turkish Airports  with a high temperature ( 38,5 c) at all arrivals before immigration, will be checked with a special device and if it is over 38,5 the pax will be taken to quarantine immediately. The airport representatives of ministry -health  is strictly informed not to give an option to the passenger with a high temperature to return back to his country.


The Vietnamese authorities have also announced travel restrictions and quarantine requirements:

  • as of 1 February 2020, anyone who has visited China in the previous 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam. The only exceptions will be people with specific agreement travelling on official government business.
  • as of 3 February 2020, anyone already in Vietnam who has been in Hubei Province within the past 14 days should go in to medical quarantine. Anyone who has been elsewhere in mainland China within the past 14 days should self-isolate at home.
  • as of 26 February anyone travelling from the areas of Daegu city and Gyeongsangbuk province in South Korea or who has transited those areas within the last 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam.

Additional Resources

Visit your country’s local health department. Other resources to check include:


The rapid spread of the coronavirus is having a major impact on business aviation around the world, as many countries enact procedures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. The situation is fluid as additional nations are taking more steps daily. We will do our best to keep this article current.

Operators should be aware of all potential restrictions before any mission, particularly to Asia or if they have been in the Wuhan region recently, as this could limit their options.

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