CAPA COVID-19 Aviation Impact: Daily Update - 09-Mar-2020


The impact on airlines of the recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, which began in China but has spread around the world, continues to have a devastating effect on the aviation and supporting industries.  

In a new essential daily update, CAPA is curating intelligence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and myriad industry sources available via its CAPA Membership news and data service.

Our mission is to help cut through the noise and provide a useful daily snapshot of the COVID-19 outbreak evolution, together with key industry developments.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Situation

Top ten locations for COVID-19 (08-Mar-2020)

Newly affected countries by cases (08-Mar-2020)

Top ten locations by daily cases increase (08-Mar-2020)

Regional Capacity Update

A daily country or regional graph of future planned air capacity, drawn from the CAPA Membership country profiles.


Italy recorded a surge in cases overnight and air capacity has dropped to 2.5 million seats compared to well over 3 million this time last year. 

Italy weekly total by system seat capacity w/c 09-Mar-2020

Aviation & Travel Industry updates


1. Global:

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) projected a loss in international tourism receipts of USD30-to-USD50 billion UNWTO revised (06-Mar-2020) its 2020 prospects for international tourist arrivals to negative growth of 1% to 3%, translating to an estimated loss in international tourism receipts of USD30 billion to USD50 billion.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, UNWTO predicted positive growth of 3% to 4% for 2020. Asia Pacific is expected to be the worst affected region, with an anticipated drop in arrivals of 9% to 12%. UNWTO called on governments, international organisations and donor agencies to include tourism as a priority in recovery plans and actions and stated tourism will play a key role in future recovery efforts. UNWTO stated public health measures need to be implemented in ways that minimise any unnecessary disruption to travel and trade. [more - original PR]


2. Asia:


Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced (06-Mar-2020) the following travellers will not be permitted to enter Japan, effective 00:00 on 09-Mar-2020 until 31-Mar-2020: 

  • Those who intend to enter Japan with single or multiple entry visas issued by 08-Mar-2020 by Japanese Embassies or Consulates General in China or the Republic of Korea;
  • Those who possess a passport issued by Hong Kong or Macau, or the Republic of Korea and intend to enter Japan without obtaining a visa. [more - original PR]


Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Feb-2020 Passenger numbers down 83.6% year-on-year

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport reported (07-Mar-2020) the following traffic highlights for Feb-2020:

  • Passengers: 966,796, -83.6% year-on-year;
    • Domestic: 700,179, -84.2%;
    • International: 206,711, -81.3%;
    • Regional: 5906, -90.5%;
  • Cargo: 79,923 tonnes, -17.0%;
    • Domestic: 19,843 tonnes, -44.8%;
    • International: 57,283 tonnes, -1.3%;
    • Regional: 2798 tonnes, +22.9%;
  • Aircraft movements: 13,044, -65.6%;

Haikou Hainan Meilan International Airport Feb-2020 Passenger numbers down 84.6% year-on-year

Haikou Hainan Meilan International Airport reported (06-Mar-2020) the following traffic highlights for Feb-2020:

Australia / New Zealand:

Air New Zealand reported (09-Mar-2020) CEO Greg Foran reduced his base pay of NZD1.65 million (USD1 million) by 15%, with the support of the board, and Air New Zealand's executive team will extend their salary freeze that has been in place since May-2019. Air New Zealand implemented a hiring freeze for all roles that are non-critical and will offer operational staff the option to take unpaid leave in addition to managing annual leave balances. [more - original PR]


3. Middle East:

Dubai Airports reported all smart gates at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central ceased operations for departing passengers, effective 08-Mar-2020 (Gulf Business, 08-Mar-2020). The move is in response to coronavirus concerns.


4. Europe:

Lufthansa Group announced (06-Mar-2020) its airlines plan to further reduce capacity by up to 50% year-on-year "in the coming weeks" due to the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus and further demand developments. The group noted it has been exposed to "drastic declines" in bookings and cancellations due to the spread of the virus. [more - original PR]


5. North America:

Alaska Air Group reported (06-Mar-2020) a significant increase in close in cancellations and a decline in forward bookings during the first week of March. Demand, although in line with expectations in Jan-2020 and Feb-2020, began to fall in late Feb-2020, and is believed to be a result of the coronavirus. Due to rapid and unpredictable changes in demand caused by the coronavirus, Alaska Air Group has decided not to produce a revised guidance for 1Q2020, however it expects current trends to continue throughout the remainder of March. 
The group is now considering possible demand scenarios and consequential capacity and cost reductions. The group recorded approximately USD1.6 billion in cash and short term investments as of 06-Mar-2020, as well as approximately USD400 million in undrawn bank line of credit facilities and 133 unencumbered aircraft. As previously reported by CAPA, Southwest Airlines also experienced a significant decline in passenger demand and increases in cancellations, despite healthy trends in Jan-2020 and Feb-2020. [more - original PR]


6. Latin America:

Azul launched leave without pay programme on 06-Mar-2020 attributed to market uncertainty due to the coronavirus (Ponte Aerea, 07-Feb-2020).


7. Africa:

Cabo Verde Airlines suspended Sal-Washington Dulles service from 08-Mar-2020 to 31-May-2020 due to lack of demand related to the coronavirus outbreak (Lusa/NewsAvia, 07-Mar-2020). The airline commenced the service in Dec-2019. Cape Verde's Government also suspended all services between Cape Verde and Italy for the three weeks to 20-Mar-2020 due to the outbreak.

The above is a selection of  more than 150 updates from today’s CAPA Membership coverage specifically on COVID-19, which also covers traffic data, route and frequency announcements, government advisories and more. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.


Additional Analysis

COVID-19 forces US airlines to start pulling down capacity

The wide ranging effects of the Coronavirus COVID-19 on the global aviation continue unabated, forcing a significant shift in IATA's estimates for the revenue hit that airlines will take as the virus continues to rapidly spread. 

In the US, United has taken an unprecedented move and pulled down significant domestic and international capacity for Apr-2020, and JetBlue has also slashed its capacity. 

With those moves, the question is not if, but when, other US airlines will follow suit as demand continues to diminish unabated. Southwest Airlines, which does not offer long haul international flights, has recently cited a sharp drop in demand. 

Read more at COVID-19 forces US airlines to start pulling down capacity.

Coronavirus: China offers to pay airlines to return to the air. UPDATE

In a bid to restore much needed connectivity with the rest of the world, China's CAAC has announced a series of support measures to encourage airlines to recommence air services.

These include direct payments per ASK for airlines prepared to operate directly to foreign markets.

The impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 has had a drastic impact on air services, not only in and from China, but also among its near neighbours and across Asia.

The financial damage to airlines (and the aviation supply chain) is already approaching annualised double digit negatives, endangering some and setting back growth generally.

Read more at Coronavirus: China offers to pay airlines to return to the air. UPDATE

The above is a selection of in-depth insights on the latest developments in the aviation and travel industry related to the COVID-19 outbreak. CAPA Membership includes a range of reports featuring accurate data and independent commentary from our global team of analysts, who offer a unique perspective and actionable insights to help improve decision making. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.

MEDIA – If you are seeking further commentary on this topic, please contact our Marketing Team.

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