Can't connect right now! retry
business
Friday Feb 21 2020
By
AFP

Asia-Pacific airlines may lose $27.8 billion as coronavirus impact deepens

By
AFP
Photo: airlineratings

The coronavirus has led to an estimated 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Thursday.

According to IATA, the loss will translate into combined loss worth whopping $27.8 billion.

"This will be a very tough year for airlines," IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. "Stopping the spread of the virus is the top priority."

Read more: Coronavirus death toll jumps past 1,800 as 98 more people die

This will be the first time since the SARS crisis of 2003 that demand for air travel has declined, De Juniac said.

Airlines in China's domestic market alone are estimated to lose around $12.8 billion in revenues. Carriers outside the Asia-Pacific region are seen suffering $1.5 billion in losses. This brings the worldwide airline revenue lost to the virus to a projected $29.3 billion, IATA said.

Read more: China announces biggest drop in new coronavirus cases

However, if the virus spreads more widely to Asia-Pacific markets, the impact on airlines from other regions would be deeper, IATA warned.

IATA had previously estimated Asia-Pacific airlines to register growth of 4.8 percent this year, but they are now on course instead for a contraction of 8.2 percent, it said.

But there are some factors potentially softening the blow, IATA said.

"Governments will use fiscal and monetary policy to try to offset the adverse economic impacts. Some relief may be seen in lower fuel prices for some airlines, depending on how fuel costs have been hedged," it said.

It was therefore difficult to predict by how much exactly lost revenue would weigh on profits.

But airlines are already taking "difficult decisions" to cut capacity, or even routes, IATA said.