Airlines at risk as travel job losses continue to increase

Airlines at risk as travel job losses continue to increase
European airlines have been severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak

Up to 75 million tourism-related jobs and half of Europe’s airlines are at immediate risk according to latest analysis of the damage being wreaked on business by the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Industry representative group the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said, on average, one million jobs are being lost every day in the tourism sector due to the spread of the pandemic.

Its forecast of 75 million jobs at risk, globally, marks a 50% increase in less than two weeks.

The WTTC said the damage to the tourism sector represents an estimated $2.1 trillion loss for the global economy this year.

While the Asia-Pacific region accounts for nearly 50 million of those jobs – and China, alone, around 26 million - things here are drastic too.

An estimated 150,000 tourism jobs have been lost in Ireland to the virus, with the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation this week warning that figure could rise to 200,000 in the near-term.

Ireland’s largest hotel operator, Dalata – which owns the Clayton and Maldron chains - now expects a 16% year-on-year fall in first quarter revenues.

The group said travel and social restrictions have “severely impacted” its business over the last two weeks and it expects that trend to continue.

Dalata has shelved dividend payments to shareholders and is cutting executive pay. It is also temporarily closing several of its hotels across Ireland and the UK and reducing operating capacity at remaining ones.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we are working hard to mitigate the implications for our business,” said chief executive Pat McCann.

“Our primary focus is on protecting our people, protecting our business and protecting our cash,” he said.

Meanwhile, Davy aviation analyst Stephen Furlong has estimated that half of Europe’s 120 or so airlines could cease to exist – either by being bought, going bust, or being broken up - after the virus runs its course.

He said Aer Lingus owner IAG and Ryanair look the most secure, but all the strong European airlines should recover.

However, all will suffer some level of pain through further fixed cost reductions while long haul routes may recover more slowly than short haul.

“We continue to believe that the European market will follow the US model of consolidation. The current crisis will hasten this,” Mr Furlong said.

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