Coronavirus: Airlines Start Cutting Flights, Grounding Planes

777 flying overhead

Airlines around the globe are reacting to a travel demand slowdown as a result of the Corona-virus Covid-19 outbreak, by cutting flights and grounding aircraft.

British Airways have cut capacity on top of BA’s owner, International Airlines Group, stopping flights to China. The airline has reported weaker demand across its brands, which also include Iberia and Aer Lingus.

easyJet have cancelled flights to Italy and is looking to combine flights moving forward as the requirement for seats contracts further.

United Airlines has also cut its flying schedule, offering pilots a month off on reduced pay as a result, and Delta Airlines and American have also suspended flights to Italy, as well as Far Eastern destinations.

Korean Air has cut its flying schedule, while Cathay Pacific has grounded half of its active fleet – something which is devastating to an airline’s bottom-line.

Emirates have also asked their staff to take a mix of paid, and unpaid leave as it considers its flying strategy in the short term.

A worst case scenario for airlines as a business and a going concern, is having aircraft that are not flying. As the Corona-virus outbreak continues to develop, the negative impacts for the airline industry worsen in tandem.

The airline industry, as delicate as it is, cannot afford a protracted corona-virus outbreak, and it will not be a surprise if it claims some well known names in the business.

Cutting flights whilst seemingly an easy step and easy decision to make, is difficult in reality to execute, it is costly in refunds and wages, and then having to restart those flights.

It is not inconceivable that when airlines begin re-introducing a full flying schedule, that their planes are essentially carting around fresh air for the first few weeks as passenger bookings pick back up, and consumer confidence returns.