UK airlines feel the squeeze as demand falls
British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) has warned that earnings have been hit by “weaker demand” as a result of coronavirus.
The airline group said it has seen lower demand on Asian and European routes as well as weaker business travel across its network due to the cancellation of industry events and corporate travel restrictions.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of the firm which also owns Aer Lingus, told reporters he believed the impact of coronavirus on the airline industry would be significant enough for some failing airlines to be “pushed over the edge”.
“We are well able to adjust to this situation because our business is in great shape. It’s the failing airlines who will be most affected by this… so without question, there will be more consolidation as a result,” he said.
The firm said that uncertainty around the coronavirus outbreak means it is currently unable to provide accurate profit guidance for 2020.
IAG suspended flights to mainland China in January as a result of the outbreak. Earlier this month British Airways also reduced its Hong Kong service and will reduce the regularity of its service to Seoul in coming weeks.