Coronovirus epidemic to cost airlines more than $29 billion

Montreal, Canada - Coronavirus outbreak hit the global airline industry hard. The demand for air travel is set to decline for the first time since 2009 due to the ongoing epidemic in Mainland China.

The rapid spread of the virus has prompted airline operators around the world to suspend or drastically reduce their scheduled flights to China.

IATA predicts the cost of the outbreak to global airline operators would be more than $29 billion of which $12.8 billion will emerge on the Chinese carriers' balance sheets. IATA's forecast assumes the virus remains largely concentrated in China, but the impact could be greater if it spreads to other markets in the region.

IATA based its estimates on the coronavirus having a “V-shaped impact on demand” as occurred during the 2003 SARS outbreak, which was marked by a six-month decline and ″an equally quick recovery.”

These are challenging times for the global air transport industry. Stopping the spread of the virus is the top priority. Airlines are following the guidance of the World Health Organization and other public health authorities to keep passengers safe, the world connected, and the virus contained,

said IATA’s CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, in a release.

Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes,” he said. “Lower fuel costs will help offset some of the lost revenue. This will be a very tough year for airlines,

he added.

Also read: Lufthansa grounds 13 aircraft operated on routes to mainland China

Also read: Qantas suspends flights to Asia as COVID-19 outbreak hits demand