Tuesday 14 April 2020 2:13 pm

Coronavirus set to cost the world's airlines up to $314bn

The coronavirus pandemic will cost global airlines up to $314bn (£249.6bn) in revenues, industry body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

The figure reflects a 55 per cent fall in passenger revenues year-on-year, with air traffic expected to decline by 48 per cent.

Read more: Airlines set to save millions as air traffic control payments deferred

In March IATA had estimated a hit of $252bn, which in turn was more than double its previous estimates.

Air transport has almost totally dried up in the last month, as governments around the world have enforced strict travel restrictions in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

As of early April, worldwide flights were down 80 per cent, the sector body reported.

The industry body has also warned that 25m jobs may be lost in the sector due to the disease, with airlines around the world cutting swathes of staff in order to protect revenues.

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This morning Hungarian carrier Wizz Air announced that it would permanently lay off 1,00 staff – 19 per cent of its workforce – due to the ongoing disruption.

The airline said it was currently operating at a mere three per cent of its pre-coronavirus capacity.

Around the world, airlines are in negotiations with their respective governments about financial assistance to help them ride out the crisis.

In the UK, negotiations are taking place on a one-to-one basis, with carriers having been told they will only be given state aid as a “last resort”.

Read more: Manchester Airport backs Virgin Atlantic bailout as airlines call for more support

Over the weekend the chief executive of Manchester Airport called on the government to provide assistance to long-haul carrier Virgin Atlantic, which is understood to have applied for around £500m in financial aid. 

Charlie Cornish said: “Virgin Atlantic’s growth in capacity has been essential in allowing Manchester to become one of the best-connected European airports to the USA.”

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