As the number of coronavirus cases in South Korea climb, the number of canceled flights from that country to Guam continues to grow as well.
And airport officials are now planning budget cuts to cope with the lost income.
The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea has now surged past 1,000 with at least 12 dead.
As a result, the number of canceled flights from that country to Guam has now climbed to 107. All 107 cancellations are from five Korean Airlines — Air Busan, T-Way, Jeju, Korean Airlines and Jin Airlines.
Guam International Airport Authority Executive Director Tom Ada said the cancellation of 107 flights translates to about 11,000 seats that were no longer available.
“In terms of revenue to the airport that’s probably around a $300,000 impact,” Ada said.
For every flight that is canceled, the airport loses a $5,000 landing fee and another $12 is lost on each passenger who doesn’t step off that plane.
Ada says that means the airport will have to tighten its belt.
“We’ve set the threshold of implementing a 15 percent budget cutback. And so basically, we’re definitely going to have to defer some capital improvement projects. We’re definitely going to have to get a tighter hold on overtime. Layoffs? No. No layoffs,” Ada said.
There are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus on Guam as of now.
Ada said that the Korean Airline flight attendant who tested positive for the disease was on the Tel Aviv to Los Angles route and did not come to Guam.
Health officials on island continue to stress that there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus on Guam as of now. However, Ada thinks it’s inevitable.
“It’s not a question of if, but a question of when. And I think what’s important is that we’ve got to prepare for when it does get detected here,” Ada said.
The airport has created an isolation area that can handle up to a planeload of passengers but it’s not a quarantine area, said Ada.
Public health will examine any potential cases in the airport ‘s isolation area and then decide whether they should be quarantined at a location that public health identifies.