(Reuters) – Airlines and passengers are on guard against a new flu-like virus that originated in Wuhan, China.
Here’s an explainer on the airline industry’s response to the outbreak so far and its potential financial exposure compared to SARS in 2003, which killed nearly 800 people:
WHAT IS THE EXPECTED FINANCIAL IMPACT ON AIRLINES?
The biggest concern is a sharp drop in travel demand if the virus becomes a pandemic.
During the height of the SARS outbreak in April 2003, passenger demand in Asia plunged 45%, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Cathay cut nearly 40% of its flights and reported a financial loss, as did Singapore Airlines Ltd, Japan Airlines Co Ltd and ANA Holdings Inc.
The industry is now more reliant on Chinese travelers.