It’s not yet sunset for big airlines.
But the longer the disruption covid-19 poses to travel, the greater the existential threat to them.
As travel restrictions mount, a possible hit to worldwide revenues of up to $113bn has been projected for this year. That’s one-fifth of last year’s overall takings.
Many airline bosses hope that global passenger numbers will follow the same trajectory as in the wake of previous disruptions, like the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 or the global financial crisis of 2007-09. After a few months of disarray, travel patterns then reverted to normal and growth resumed.
Most of the aviation industry should pull through if the situation lasts one or two quarters. But smaller carriers may not