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Coronavirus threatens to push Asian airlines into bankruptcy

Domestic and international travel have been curtailed by outbreak

| China
A health worker sprays disinfectant at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi on Feb. 21: 70 international airlines have canceled all their routes to and from China.    © Reuters

Since the emergence of the coronavirus, government-imposed containment measures in Wuhan and practically all local municipalities throughout China have brought life to a standstill. The Chinese New Year holiday has been extended and most people, including me, are stuck indoors. Many residential complexes and jurisdictions in China and elsewhere are imposing restrictions on travel both in and out -- and are quarantining some entrants.

This lack of movement has naturally hit demand from air travelers of all types -- domestic and international business and tourist alike. Asian airlines could lose $27.8 billion in revenue, according to the International Air Transport Association, and Chinese airlines in domestic markets $12.8 billion. Now Asian airlines, which lean heavily on regional flights, must aggressively cut costs and diversify income streams to survive.

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