Ebola Regional Spread Puts African Airline Links at Risk

Africa’s air routes are increasingly at risk as the Ebola virus prompts local carriers to avoid the worst-affected areas, demand weakens and Korean Air Lines Co. (003490) halts services thousands of miles from the outbreak’s epicenter, signaling a broader threat to the continent’s travel links.

Airlines from Gambia, Togo and Nigeriahave halted flights to Ebola-hit states, whileKorean Air will end operations to Kenya on Aug. 20 after a World Health Organization official in the country, which has suffered zero Ebola cases, described it as “high risk” because of airline ties to the rest of Africa.

Among carriers with the greatest West African exposure, Air France and Brussels Airlines — Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA)’s main link there — said last night that they’re screening departing customers more carefully, while persisting with flights. Korean Air’s decision to scrap its only sub-Saharan route could herald a wider review of operations in the face of a disease that has killed more than 1,000 people.

“When you have long incubation periods it’s possible that someone would be exposed but not yet exhibiting symptoms and could travel unknowingly — aviation is a potential vector for this,” saidRobert Mann, president of aviation consultant R.W. Mann & Co. Asian customers are especially conscious of personal security, which “causes a drop in willingness travel.”

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.