New York: The global airline industry is operating with less than half the capacity it had in mid-January after slashing another 20 million seats from scheduled services last week, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide.
The single biggest weekly percentage drop ever recorded by OAG on a global level came as the US and India accelerated their cuts by 4.4 million seats and 3.5 million seats, respectively, equating to 21 per cent and 70 per cent reductions in capacity.
Carriers worldwide are grounding jets as demand slumps because of the coronavirus, which has infected over 785,000 people globally and killed 37,600.
“It took the airline industry some eight weeks for global capacity to fall from 106 million to 90 million,” OAG senior analyst John Grant wrote in a weekly blog. “It took a further two weeks for that to fall to 49 million.”
The number could drop closer to 40 million given deeper cuts coming in major markets, though that level could mark a turning point where signs of recovery might emerge, Grant said.
Airlines could lose $252 billion in revenue this year, according to the International Air Transport Association. IATA’s latest estimate was more than double the loss in its previous forecast, reflecting a steep downward spiral as the industry grapples with a crisis more severe than anything it’s ever faced.