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Coronavirus may lead to losses of $4.9 bn for Middle East airlines

Middle East airlines coronavirus
With new coronavirus cases being reported in the Middle East, passenger numbers are expected to drop by 23%

Airlines in the Middle East are expected to suffer revenue losses of around $4.9 billion this year due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The International Air Transport Association expects passenger numbers to also come down by 23 percent for Middle East airlines as new coronavirus cases are being reported in Middle Eastern countries such as UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and Lebanon.

IATA also revealed that the airlines in the Middle East have already suffered losses of around $100 million due to the coronavirus outbreak.

IATA’s regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Albakri, told the media, “Air ticket sales too, from, and within the Middle East are expected to be dropping over the next few weeks. Significant additional revenue is at risk to the Middle East carriers if the travel restrictions spread further to the rear of Asia Pacific.”

Airlines in the region have asked their staff to take a vacation as travel restrictions; lockdowns and flight cancellations continue to hurt the aviation sector.

Emirates recently asked its employees to take unpaid leaves as carriers cancel flights to and from China. UAE-based Etihad Airways has asked employees to take their paid leaves in advance.

The International Air Transport Association further revealed that the global aviation industry could see revenue losses of around $29 billion in 2020 due to coronavirus, which is a 4.7 percent industry-wide drop in revenue per passenger kilometer. Carriers across the globe have been forced to cancel flights to and from China.

Around $27.8 billion of the revenue loss due to the coronavirus epidemic will be suffered by Southeast Asian airlines.

The outbreak of the coronavirus could also see African airlines lose around $40 million in revenue this year.

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