20th Feb 2020 | Emmanuel Kojo
Qantas has warned of a severe financial impact as the potentially deadly coronavirus diminishes demand for travel in Asia.
The Australian airline said the outbreak would cost it up to 99million dollars as it cuts flights to Asia by 15% until at least the end of May.
To avoid job losses the company also plans to freeze recruitment and ask workers to use up leave.
It comes amid wider concerns of the impact on the global economy.
Qantas estimated that the coronavirus would result in a 100m -150m Australian dollar hit for the financial year, once it had accounted for cutting flights.
In a statement signed by Qantas’ chief executive, Alan Joyce said: “Coronavirus resulted in the suspension of our flights to mainland China and we’re now seeing some secondary impacts with weaker demand on Hong Kong, Singapore and to a lesser extent Japan.”
“We’ve also seen some domestic demand weakness emerging, so we’re adjusting Qantas and Jetstar’s capacity in the second half,” he added.
Qantas has suspended flights from Sydney to Shanghai, the cut capacity to Hong Kong and ended its Sydney to Beijing route earlier than expected after the Australian government-imposed restrictions on travelers from mainland China.
Can Coronavirus affect the global economy?
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has warned over the impact of the virus, saying that a further spread to other countries could disrupt the “highly fragile” world economic recovery.
In a document prepared for this weekend’s G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers, the global lender mapped out the risks facing the global economy, including the coronavirus, saying, “the coronavirus, a human tragedy, is disrupting economic activity in China as production has been halted and mobility around affected regions limited.
“A wider and more protracted outbreak or lingering uncertainty about contagion could intensify supply chain disruptions and depress confidence more persistently, making the global impact more severe,” it added.
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