Companies including British Airways, Air Asia, Air India, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines and Fine Air have announced plans to cancel a number of flights to China, or to stop travel altogether.
While other airlines decided to return the financial dues to passengers after canceling their flights, according to the report Network CNN News.
This coincides with the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country, as it has killed 132 people and infected more than 6 thousand people in China so far, with confirmation of infections in a number of countries in the world, such as the United States, Japan, Germany and France.
And British Airways announced today, Wednesday, the suspension of direct flights to Chinese territory and immediate, and suspended reservations on its website for direct flights from London to Beijing and Shanghai.
The company said it had suspended flights to the two cities until the end of this month to assess the situation, however, reservations on its site were not available until February 29.
While the United “United Airlines” company said:
The huge drop in reservations forced her to suspend her flights from February 1 to the eighth of the same month, from America to Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
For its part, the Hong Kong government said, in a statement, that four domestic airlines including the main company “Cathay Pacific” will gradually reduce the number of flights between the city and 24 destinations in China, from 480 flights per week to 240 flights, until further notice.
Air Canada also canceled many of its 33 weekly flights to China, after falling demand, and Air Asia suspended all flights from Thailand and Malaysia to Wuhan, China until the end of next month.
In a Tweet on Twitter, Air India said its flights between Mumbai and Shanghai, which pass through Delhi, were canceled from January 31 to February 14.
In the same vein, Finnish Air Air canceled three weekly flights between Helsinki and Beijing between February 5 and March 29, in addition to two weekly flights between Helsinki and Nanjing.
While Qatar Airways or Malaysia Airlines have not suspended their flights, passengers, crew and hospitality crews, on board flights from China, will be subject to additional checks at airports.
Others, such as Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and Austrian Airlines, have confirmed that they are monitoring developments, but will continue to operate their flights to China.
Experts’ concerns come true
These measures are likely to have economic and other repercussions on the financial markets, due to the decline in international aviation and the impact of tourism and retail trade, in addition to investors panic, which analysts warned of with the emergence of the virus.
Goldman Sachs warned, in a note to its customers on the twenty-second of this month, that the outbreak of the new Corona virus in China could reduce oil prices because of the slowdown in air travel.
In his memo, he cited the SARS outbreak scenario between 2002 and 2003 as a similar case, saying that the new Corona virus could cause jet fuel demand to drop by 260,000 bpd, a pace that outpaces the drop in demand when SARS emerges.
Global stocks suffered from strong turbulence over the past few sessions, and recorded losses of nearly a trillion and a half trillion dollars within one week, which analysts attribute to investors’ concern about the continuing spread of the virus and the possibility of undermining it for commercial and economic activities.
During the period between 2002 and 2003, with the SARS outbreak, the growth of the Chinese economy slowed, Hong Kong entered a recession, and the major stock indices of the two countries fell sharply (before recovering later after the risk vanished).
And indicate Asian economies are estimated to have lost It reached $ 40 billion as a result of the outbreak of the SARS virus, but it is believed that the continuation of the new Corona outbreak may have greater repercussions, given the growth of Asian economies and the increase in tourism and trade in them compared to the past.
Market investors and analysts in news houses closely monitor developments in the spread of the new killer virus, whether it will expand the range of infected areas, and how it affects economic activities exactly.
The main concerns of global investors are centered around the possibility of the disease developing into a pandemic that paralyzes transportation, shopping and business meetings, which has happened relatively in China, as its spread and its emergency measures coincide with the lunar New Year holiday season, which has been witnessing a massive travel and shopping movement, what Pay to cancel many celebrations and business meetings.
However, chief economist at the Renaissance Capital investment company, Charles Robertson, believes that the negative consequences of the new Corona virus, which has spread in China, will not be significant to the global economy and that the effect will appear in the first half of the year, before the economy begins to recover in the other half.
“The Corona virus is likely to be a great opportunity for commodity investors, such as oil, gas and minerals, because China is likely to offer a major stimulus package in the coming months. This is good news for the global economy in the second half of 2020,” the expert said.