The recent outbreak of COVID 19, which has just been declared a pandemic, has been catastrophic for the aviation industry. The impact first hit China, with most flights to and from the nation suspended, but, as Coronavirus spread, the impact has become global. United Airlines, one of the largest carriers of the world, recently announced that it would be cutting 50% of its routes due to reduced demand because of this outbreak.
Many analysts have predicted that there will be a 70% decline in revenue, which surpasses the decline seen after 9/11. Some carriers are hoping that these figures are overestimated, but United quickly realized that it is vital to make significant cuts. The carrier plans to focus these cuts for April and May but will extend some into the summer. These cuts will still likely mean that there will be an overwhelming number of open seats on this flight.
United has been severely hit due to this pandemic. In the first few weeks of March, the carrier carried over 1 million fewer passengers this year. Also, March is one of the most profitable months for the airline, and revenue is expected to be $1.5 billion lower for 2020. To compensate for reduced revenue, its corporate officers will take a salary cut, and the carrier is currently negotiating with the unions to try and adjust payment for this period.
Coronavirus has been inimical for airlines, with many carriers temporarily ceasing operations. Will many large airlines be able to survive in 2020?