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Asia’s tropical storm season arrives, grounded airplanes might be damaged

Christian Fernsby |
Airlines, airports and insurers across Asia are bracing for the prospect of unusually high damage as the region’s tropical storm season begins. Hundreds of aircraft are currently grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic and these can’t be moved easily.

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Major airports in storm-vulnerable regions such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and India have been effectively turned into giant parking lots as coronavoris travel restrictions choke demand.

“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,” said Gary Moran, head of Asia aviation at insurance broker Aon.

“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.”

Airline insurers, already on the hook to refund large portions of crash risk premiums because of the groundings, now face the larger-than-usual risk posed by having lots of airplanes grouped together at airports, industry experts said.

“One event could create damage that costs millions to repair, maybe even closer to hundreds of millions depending on the aircraft that are involved,” said James Jordan, a senior associate at law firm HFW’s Asia aerospace and insurance practices.

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