Drop in airline revenue forecast


The UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) forecasts global airline revenue could fall by $4 billion to $5 billion in the first quarter due to flight cancellations linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Montreal-based agency said the virus was expected to have a greater industry impact than that caused by the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory System (SARS) epidemic, in light of the higher volume and greater global extent of flight cancellations.

ICAO said around 70 airlines cancelled international flights to and from mainland China and a further 50 airlines curtailed operations.

This has resulted in an 80% reduction of foreign airline capacity for traveller to and from China and a 40% capacity reduction by Chinese airlines, the agency said.

The preliminary estimate does not include potential impacts on cargo only aircraft, airports, air navigation service providers, to Chinese domestic air traffic, or to international traffic to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, ICAO said.

The agency forecast Japan could lose $1.29 billion in tourism revenue in the first quarter due to the drop in Chinese travellers and Thailand could lose $1.15 billion.