Coronavirus: Most airlines will be bankrupt within weeks - analysts

They are warning of an economic "catastrophe".
They are warning of an economic "catastrophe". Photo credit: Getty Images

Most of the world's airlines will be bankrupt by May, according to a new report from CAPA (Centre for Aviation), a research company based in Australia.

The organisation has called for immediate action to avoid an economic catastrophe.

"As the impact of the coronavirus and multiple government travel reactions sweep through our world, many airlines have probably already been driven into technical bankruptcy," the report said.

CAPA says demand is drying up in ways that are completely unprecedented times and normality is not yet on the horizon.

Announcements made on Monday night back up the theory as some of the world's largest airlines slash routes and staff.

Global cutbacks:

  • SAS has halted most of its flights and is temporarily laying off up to 10,000 employees, or 90 percent of the airline's total workforce
  • Lufthansa has reduced capacity on long-haul routes by up to 90 percent
  • British Airways said it was in a battle for its "survival" and is cutting capacity by at least 75 percent
  • Austrian Airlines has announced it will be temporarily suspending all flights
  • Virgin Atlantic said it would be grounding up to ground 85 percent of its fleet. The airline has asked staff to take eight weeks unpaid leave over the next three months to try to cut costs but avoid job losses
  • Ryanair is preparing to ground its entire fleet and has so far cut its capacity by 80 percent
  • Cathay Pacific said 80 percent of employees have agreed to take three weeks of unpaid leave to cut costs. The airline has grounded 140 planes
  • Emirates has cancelled flights to around 30 destinations
Air New Zealand announced on Monday it was cutting international capacity by 85 percent and the NZ Airline Pilots association said up to 3700 jobs could be cut.