IATA says coronavirus impact could be upwards of US$113 billion

GENEVA — IATA has updated its analysis of the coronavirus’ financial impact on the global air transport industry.

IATA says it now sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between US$63 billion (in a scenario where the coronavirus is contained in current markets) and $113 billion (in a scenario with a broader spreading).

IATA’s previous analysis, issued in late February, put lost revenues at $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the impact largely confined to markets associated with China.

Since that time the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China.

Financial markets have tumbled and airline share prices have fallen nearly 25% since the outbreak began, some 21 percentage points greater than the decline that occurred at a similar point during the SARS crisis of 2003. To a large extent, this fall already prices in a shock to industry revenues much greater than previous analysis, says IATA.

“The turn of events as a result of COVID-19 is almost without precedent,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “In little over two months, the industry’s prospects in much of the world have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. It is unclear how the virus will develop, but whether we see the impact contained to a few markets and a $63 billion revenue loss, or a broader impact leading to a $113 billion loss of revenue, this is a crisis.”

He adds: “Many airlines are cutting capacity and taking emergency measures to reduce costs. Governments must take note. Airlines are doing their best to stay afloat as they perform the vital task of linking the world’s economies.

“As governments look to stimulus measures, the airline industry will need consideration for relief on taxes, charges and slot allocation. These are extraordinary times.”

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