9 MARCH 2020
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Coronavirus, or COVID-19, continued tightening its grip over the weekend, just days after IATA estimated the cost of the outbreak to the aviation industry this year at up to £87bn. The prediction came on the same day Flybe went into administration.
The collapse of the airline triggered a round of anxiety over the future of other carriers facing a worldwide slump in passenger demand including, as the BBC pointed out, corporate travel, with business trips for employees and conferences postponed. See also from last week what two experts had to say.
With clear implications for business travel, Italy, the worst affected country in Europe, yesterday put some 16m citizens – a quarter of the population – under quarantine after the number of people to test positive increased by 1,247 in a single 24hr period.
Also yesterday, Emirates joined other carriers attempting to reassure passengers with special measures, including carrying out enhanced cleaning and disinfection on all aircraft from Dubai regardless of route.
Many carriers are now offering fee waivers for booking changes while taking in-house steps to cut costs. Among them, Emirates has asked workers to take unpaid leave for up to a month while Cathay Pacific staff are being asked to take three weeks off.
Advice to passengers is now being carried on all major airline websites.
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