Global airlines struggling with multi-billion losses from the coronavirus are now facing an exodus of customers and the loss of prized airport slots.
Major disasters impact the aviation industry particularly hard. The global financial crisis, SARS outbreak and 9/11 terrorist attacks presented serious challenges to the sector and multi-billion financial losses.
Warning of 'collapse' in global air traffic
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that airlines could lose US$30 billion AUS$46 billion loses due to the coronavirus.
But that figure could rise as the virus spreads to new parts of the world, affecting bookings.
To ease the burden, the IATA has called for the suspension of regular "use it or lose it" rules on valuable airport slots. It has appealed to aviation regulators to freeze the regulations governing takeoff and landing slots.
About 43 per cent of global airline passengers fly from airports where carriers lose rights to those slots if they fail to use their allocation at least 80 per cent of the time.
Authorities have the power to suspend the rules in exceptional circumstances as some did earlier this year for airlines flying to China.
But the IATA is now warning the financial fallout for the industry extends beyond China.
"Research has shown that traffic has collapsed on key Asian routes and that this is rippling throughout the air transport network globally, even between countries without major outbreaks of Covid-1," the organisation's director general, Alexandre de Juniac, said
"We are calling for regulators worldwide to help the industry plan for today's emergency, and the future recovery of the network, by suspending the slot-use rules on a temporary basis," he added.
The coronavirus has slugged Qantas with a $150 million hole in its bottom line.
Last month the Australian airline posted an interim net profit slide to $445 million, blaming the 3.9 per cent drop on protests in Hong Kong, higher foreign exchange costs and slower global freight demand.
The coronavirus outbreak in the second half has added to Qantas' woes and is expected to cut $100 million to $150 million off its bottom line.
Half of Cathay Pacific fleet grounded
Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific is among the worst affected carriers after it cut 75 per cent of flights and parked over half its aircraft on runways.
From its fleet of 152 planes, it has 120 on the ground in Hong Kong, reports The South China Morning Post.
Outside mainland Chinese airlines, Cathay Pacific is the most vulnerable from the coronavirus.
The airline held 50 per cent of flights between mainland China and Hong Kong - a major source of its revenue. From last month is cut flights into mainland China by 90 per cent.
Earlier this month, Cathay Pacific requested 25,000 of its employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave over the next three months.
US airlines suspend operations
In response to growing concerns over the spread of the virus through international travel and dwindling demand for international flights between certain locations, some US airlines have suspended operations to certain airports, CNN reports.
American Airlines announced Saturday that it was suspending operations to and from Milan, Italy, from New York's JFK Airport and Miami International Airport. The suspension was a result of a reduction in demand, an alert from the airline said.
Delta Air Lines has also temporarily suspended daily flights between JFK and Milan's Malpensa Airport. Delta announced reductions to service between the US and Seoul, South Korea, last week.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-crisis-airlines-hit-with-multibillion-losses-fewer-passenger-loss-of-flights/c5602c0d-30c6-4cc4-9b78-f5f6ba3fa298