Montreal, Canada – The coronavirus outbreak has devastated airline companies worldwide even more than the aftermath of 9/11 attacks, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced, warning that air carriers are set to lose at least $250 billion.
“Airlines are desperately trying to survive in the most difficult times imaginable,” IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, RT reported.
“We have the people and the experience to see this through. But, to be perfectly frank, we don’t have the money,” he added.
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 the COVID-19 outbreak and by governments’ efforts to stop the spread of the virus by limiting international travel.
“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 stated.
The flight industry’s position continues to deteriorate rapidly – and the prognosis is becoming grimmer and grimmer. In early March, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated lost revenue from the coronavirus outbreak could reach $113 billion. By the end of the month, it said that loss would hit at least $250 billion, urging governments around the world to immediately support the industry.
The coronavirus pandemic has so far reached over one million confirmed cases and caused almost 65,000 deaths around the world, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. Most countries have imposed a travel ban, along with other curfew measures, which further limit other industries.