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Airlines ground flights, count mounting costs of the coronavirus shock

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03/31/2020 | 07:25am EDT
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines airplane sits on the tarmac at LAX in Los Angeles

Airlines across the globe are feeling the pain as travel demand withers because of the coronavirus outbreak, scrapping flights and ditching financial forecasts.

Below is a list of how the world's biggest airlines have responded (in alphabetical order):

AIR FRANCE-KLM

Air France-KLM said on March 16 it would park its biggest airliners and slash services by up to 90%. The group said it had identified measures to save 200 million euros ($223 million) in 2020 and ways to cut its capital expenditure by 350 million euros.

AIR NEW ZEALAND

Air New Zealand said on March 16 it would cut long-haul capacity by 85% in the coming months and the domestic network by 30% in April and May.

The airline has withdrawn its full-year outlook, frozen hiring and offered unpaid leave to staff.

AMERICAN AIRLINES INC

American Airlines plans to cut 75% of its international flights through May 6 and ground nearly all its widebody fleet.

CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES

China Southern Airlines reported on March 18 a 73% drop in February passenger capacity, saying the impact from the epidemic remains uncertain.

DELTA AIR LINES

Delta is cutting domestic capacity by 10% to 15% and international by 20% to 25%, freezing hiring, offering voluntary leave options to staff and looking at early retirement of older aircraft.

It had received over 4,500 requests from flight attendants for voluntary unpaid leave in April, according to a March 14 paper seen by Reuters.

DEUTSCHE LUFTHANSA AG

The German carrier cut long-haul capacity by up to 90% from March 17, and said it would only operate 20% of planned intra-Europe flights.

On March 27 Lufthansa applied for short-time work for around 31,000 crew and ground staff at its core brand until the end of August, stating that around 700 of Lufthansa's roughly 760 planes were currently grounded.

Austrian Airlines, a part of the Lufthansa group, has halted all regular flight operations until April 19.

EASYJET

Britain's EasyJet has grounded its fleet of 344 planes and has no clear idea when it might resume flights, the company said on March 30.

EasyJet said it would lay off its 4,000 UK-based cabin crew for two months, meaning they won't work from April 1 but will get 80% of their average pay under a state job retention scheme.

EL AL ISRAEL AIRLINES

El Al sent 5,500 of its 6,000 workers on unpaid leave until May 31 after it slashed its flight schedule.

EMIRATES

Emirates said on March 23 it would suspend all passenger flights for two weeks starting from March 25.

FINNAIR

On March 17, Finnair said it would cancel most of its flights until the end of June as it started transitioning to a limited network.

IAG

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways and Iberia, said it would cut its flying capacity by at least 75% in April and May.

The group detailed cost cuts including a freeze on discretionary spending, working hours reductions and a temporary suspension of employment contracts.

On March 17, the UK pilot union BALPA said that British Airways was due to make an unspecified number of pilots redundant.

JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP

JetBlue, which pulled its first-quarter and 2020 earnings forecast, said it was adjusting schedules between March and early May and was considering more flight cancellations.

JetBlue said the outbreak was expected to make at least a six percentage-point dent in its total revenue per available seat mile in the first quarter.

NORWEGIAN AIR

Norwegian Air said on March 16 it would cancel 85% of its flights and temporarily lay off 7,300 employees. The cancellations add to an already difficult financial situation at Norwegian, which has scrapped its 2020 outlook and lost 70% of its market value this year.

QANTAS AIRWAYS

Qantas has suspended all international flights from Australia and around 60% of domestic traffic at least until end of May.

The airline said it could no longer provide guidance on the outbreak's financial impact. Its CEO will take no salary for the rest of the year, the management team will receive no bonuses and all staff are encouraged to take paid or unpaid leave.

QATAR AIRWAYS

Qatar Airways laid off around 200 employees, all Filipino nationals based in Qatar.

RYANAIR

The Irish airline said on March 16 it would ground most of its aircraft in Europe, expected to cut seat capacity by 80% for the next two months, and could even ground its entire fleet.

On March 24 Ryanair said it does not expect to operate flights in April or May.

SAS

The Danish and Swedish governments said on March 17 they would provide guarantees totalling 3 billion Swedish crowns ($302 million) to SAS, which has grounded most of its fleet and temporarily laid off 90% of staff.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Singapore Airlines on March 23 cut capacity by 96%, grounded almost its entire fleet and imposed cost cuts affecting about 10,00 staff.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO

Southwest, which has withdrawn its previous 2020 financial guidance, said it would reduce capacity by at least 20% from April 14 through June 5.

TAP AIRLINES [TAPA.UL]

Portugal's flag carrier, which had previously cut 3,500 flights through May, said on March 19 it would further reduce its operations between March 23 and April 19, expecting to fly to just 15 of its 90 destinations.

UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC

The Chicago-based airline said on March 20 it would slash its international schedule by 95% for April because of government restrictions prohibiting travel.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Virgin Atlantic, the UK-based airline, said it would ground 75% of its fleet by 26 March and by up to 85% at points in April, as it canceled more flights.

WESTJET AIRLINES

Canada's WestJet suspended all commercial international flights for 30 days from March 22 and reduced its domestic schedule by 50%. (https://bit.ly/2Udcne7)

WIZZ AIR

The Hungary-based budget airline said on March 23 it is operating 15% of its capacity and warned that grounding its entire fleet remained a possibility.

(Compiled by Ankit Ajmera and Rachit Vats in Bengaluru, Milla Nissi and Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Keith Weir and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AIR FRANCE-KLM 0.61% 4.312 Real-time Quote.-56.81%
AIR NEW ZEALAND LIMITED 0.73% 1.385 End-of-day quote.-52.73%
AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. -8.35% 10.98 Delayed Quote.-58.23%
BYD COMPANY LIMITED 0.46% 44.15 End-of-day quote.13.64%
DEUTSCHE LUFTHANSA AG 5.42% 9.77 Delayed Quote.-43.52%
EASYJET PLC 4.43% 740 Delayed Quote.-50.26%
EL AL ISRAEL AIRLINES LTD 3.01% 65 Delayed Quote.-32.50%
FINNAIR OYJ 1.87% 3.704 Delayed Quote.-38.16%
INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROUP, SA -0.92% 246.4 Delayed Quote.-60.21%
JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORPORATION -6.70% 10.17 Delayed Quote.-41.77%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. 10.02% 11.97 End-of-day quote.98.18%
NEXT 3.91% 5082 Delayed Quote.-30.31%
NORWEGIAN AIR SHUTTLE ASA -5.13% 3.85 Delayed Quote.-89.25%
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED 0.00% 4.09 End-of-day quote.-42.48%
RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC -0.94% 11.56 Delayed Quote.-20.23%
SAS AB (PUBL) -7.92% 10 Delayed Quote.-28.88%
SHUTTLE INC. -1.46% 9.43 End-of-day quote.-22.70%
SINGAPORE AIRLINES LIMITED 1.60% 3.82 End-of-day quote.-57.74%
UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS, INC. -5.87% 28.89 Delayed Quote.-65.16%
WIZZ AIR HOLDINGS PLC -2.05% 3250 Delayed Quote.-14.81%
WORLD CO., LTD. 4.87% 1616 End-of-day quote.-39.95%
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