The airline industry expects the first annual decline in global passenger demand in 11 years, after tallying up the initial impact of the thousands of flights canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak in China, APA reports citing CNBC.
The estimate shaves about 4.7 percentage points off of a passenger-traffic forecast issued just two months ago, with almost all of the impact in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the International Air Transport Association. That may be conservative. The projections assume the losses will be limited to markets linked to China.
“This will be a very tough year for airlines,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general, said in a statement Thursday. “Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes.”
The drop would be the first overall decline since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Global passenger demand is now seen contracting by 0.6 percent this year, compared with a December forecast for 4.1 percent growth, IATA said.