Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose $27.8 billion of revenue this year as they slash flights due to declining demand as a result of the coronavirus, according to a preliminary estimate from an industry body, reported Reuters.
The bulk of the losses will be borne by Chinese carriers, including a $12.8 billion hit to the Chinese domestic market alone, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a forecast released in New York on Thursday.
Chinese airlines have cut 80% of their planned capacity to, from and within China this week, according to flight data firm OAG, as they grapple with a sharp fall in demand due to the virus that has killed more than 2,100 people in China.
Overall, IATA expects passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region to fall by 8.2% this year, compared to an earlier estimate of a 4.8% rise. “Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. “Lower fuel costs will help offset some of the lost revenue. This will be a very tough year for airlines.”