By Christina Camillo
In response to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, many airlines are taking a hard hit to their businesses. Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines announced that they were going to halt flights between the United States and China. These companies stopped flights following the announcement by the US State Department warning Americans not to travel to China as the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, 2020. Each of these airlines announced dates when the flights would stop and start up again. American Airlines suspended all flights immediately as of January 31, 2020 until March 27. Both Delta and United stated they would stop all flights effective on February 3, 2020. The break for Delta would last until April 30 and United stated they would resume flights on March 28. On the day the airlines announced the suspension of flights (January 31, 2020), the share prices of all three companies fell. United share prices fell by 4%, American share prices fell by more than 3%, and Delta fell by 2.5%. Unfortunately, for customers who already had flights booked, situations like the coronavirus may not be included in plans for travel insurance.
With the declining demand of flights to China, these companies and more are missing out on more than 165,000 scheduled flights to and from China between January 31 to March 27. Due to all the cancellations caused by the epidemic, Delta Airlines donated $250,000 to the Red Cross Society of China. The donation is to support the containment of the virus by providing medical aid and education. Following the donation, the Vice President of Delta’s Greater China, Wong Hong, stated, “Supporting the Red Cross Society of China allows Delta and our employees to help those who are affected by coronavirus in China. As a global airline, we are committed to investing in local communities where Delta people and customers live, work and serve, lending a helping hand when it’s needed the most, and partnering with organizations who are hands on with disaster relief around the world.” Delta has also been constantly posting updates following the cancelation of flights, keeping their customers in the loop. The company states that the suspension of flights will stay effective until April 30th but may adjust as the current situation may change.
As for other airlines, plenty are being affected by the coronavirus, including international businesses. Because of the fear of travelling, more than 20 international airlines have cancelled flights to China. The New York times listed all the companies that halted flights to China, some of the companies are: Air France, Air Seoul, Air Tanzania, British Airways, Rwandair, Finnair, Kenya Airways, and plenty more. The cancelations are going to decrease the airline companies’ revenues since they are losing money by cancelling their services to China and some to Hong Kong, Japan. Another way the coronavirus is affecting businesses, related to flying, is hotel services in China. With the tourism industry declining during this period, the hotels will also have a lack of demand from customers.