Chinese authorities have locked down two entire cities as they struggle to contain the outbreak of the new coronavirus which has so far reportedly killed 17 people and has infected more than 600 people, even as countries across the world scrambles to prevent a global pandemic.
According to Chinese health officials, there is a growing fear that the transmission rate of the virus could accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during the week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday.
In a statement, the chief executive of Aercap, one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors, stated he expects the coronavirus to impact Chinese airlines’ profitability in the first quarter.
The outbreak is already having an impact on the number of people traveling in the Chinese New Year when travel and yields peak. Past examples of the Ebola and SARS virus show that if the spread is contained successfully, the impact on traffic will not have a long-term impact.
“There’s certainly going to be an impact on the profitability of Chinese airlines in the first quarter,” said Kelly at a conference in Dublin.