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‘Deepest crisis ever’: Covid-19’s effect on airlines dwarfs 9/11 fallout, says industry

‘Deepest crisis ever’: Covid-19’s effect on airlines dwarfs 9/11 fallout, says industry
The coronavirus has devastated airlines worldwide even more than the aftermath of 9/11, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said, warning that air carriers are set to lose at least $250 billion.

“Airlines are desperately trying to survive in the most difficult times imaginable,” said IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “We have the people and the experience to see this through. But, to be perfectly frank, we don’t have the money.”

Global demand for flights fell by 14.1 percent in February compared to the same period in 2019, in the “steepest decline in traffic since 9/11.” The drop-off was fueled both by fears over Covid-19 and by government efforts to stop the spread of the virus by limiting international travel.

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“For carriers in Asia-Pacific, the drop was 41 percent. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” de Juniac said.

The industry’s position continues to deteriorate rapidly – and the prognosis is becoming more and more grim. In early March, the IATA estimated lost revenue from the coronavirus could reach $113 billion. By the end of the month, it said that loss would hit at least $250 billion, urging governments to immediately support the industry.

The coronavirus pandemic has so far reached over 965,000 confirmed cases and caused over 50,000 deaths around the world, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

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