International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company for British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and others, has warned that earnings will be affected by coronavirus.
The depth of the impact is unknown, said the Madrid and London-based business which last year saw revenues of €25.506bn (£21.82bn, $28.16bn).
IAG usually gives an earnings forecast at this time of year but the uncertainty of the coronavirus impact means it could not now give an accurate profit prediction.
It’s the latest airline group to issue a warning over the impact virus will have on its revenues and profits, following the likes of Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
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Demand for travel has plummeted as measures to contain the spread of the virus are implemented. “It’s a rapidly changing situation,” said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh. “[But] I’m very confident we’ll navigate our way through these challenges.”
BA has already cancelled many flights to and from the worse-affected areas and the firm said further cancellations would follow. The outbreak in Italy over the past week has brought new disruption to short-haul European travel.
IAG is addressing the hit by cutting costs and looking for new revenue streams. One could be picking up new routes from airlines that fail to survive this current downturn.
Shares in IAG have fallen 25 per cent since the middle of January and have dropped a further 3.5 per cent during morning trading.