The outbreak of deadly coronavirus has sent the global aviation industry to a frenzy with the air traffic growth slowing down to a decade low in January.
The outbreak of deadly coronavirus has sent the global aviation industry to a frenzy with the air traffic growth slowing down to a decade low in January. However, January could be merely the tip of the iceberg as passenger growth is expected to take a further hit with the growing cases of coronavirus. “January was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the traffic impacts we are seeing owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, given that major travel restrictions in China did not begin until 23 January. Nevertheless, it was still enough to cause our slowest traffic growth in nearly a decade,” Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA, said in a statement this week. Coronavirus has spread to virtually all the continents and has affected 75 countries so far, according to WHO.
In the UK, the coronavirus spread has caused the collapse of one of the biggest British airline Flybe which was already reeling under a financial crisis. “All flights have been grounded and the UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect,” said the airline, AFP reported. In India, air traffic has taken a toll of coronavirus spread with the flight reservations witnessing 11% drop to India’s capital Delhi as compared to a fortnight ago.
Globally, traffic on many routes has collapsed, sending shivers to the aviation industry. “The COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis that is testing the resilience not only of the airline industry but of the global economy. Airlines are experiencing double-digit declines in demand, and on many routes traffic has collapsed,” Alexandre de Juniac said. Recently, major international carrier Emirates asked its employees to take unpaid leave up to one month in the wake of flight cancellations.
Meanwhile, India has now 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus which includes 16 Italian tourists and their driver in Jaipur, three in Kerala who have recovered and hence discharged, one in Hyderabad, two in Delhi-NCR, and six in Agra.