Data Suggests Coronavirus Will Cause Major Air Travel Demand Decrease

A new study from an international airline industry organization suggests 2020 will see the first drop in air travel in over a decade due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The Guardian, officials from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed demand for flights has dropped as a result of the viral infections that originated in China, which could cost the airline industry as much as $29.3 billion in lost revenue this year.

The IATA said global demand for air travel is expected to drop by 4.7 percent in 2020, which would mark the first overall decline since the global financial crisis that began in 2008.

The Asia Pacific region will continue to be hit the hardest by the coronavirus outbreak and the concerns surrounding it, as airlines registered in China and the surrounding countries are expected to lose $27.8 billion in revenue this year.

“Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes,” IATA CEO 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.”

The IATA flight demand forecast was based on the coronavirus public health emergency not spreading beyond China, but De Juniac warned that if the viral infections spread to other major markets, the impact on the aviation industry will be even more significant.

In January, airlines across the U.S. have canceled all flights to China following the Department of State’s decision to raise its travel advisory to Level 4 and issued a “do not travel” warning due to the viral outbreak.

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