Chinese aviation sector lost $5.6 bn in first quarter

Airlines suffered the bulk of these losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, industry spokesman says

by Nadeem Xu
Chinese aviation sector lost $5.6 bn in first quarter
Passengers wearing masks walk past a flight information display board in the arrival hall inside Hong Kong International Airport on February 22. The coronavirus ravaged has China's airlines, as well as those all around the world. Photo: AFP

(ATF) China’s aviation industry suffered a severe impact from the coronavirus pandemic – a cumulative loss of 39.8 billion yuan (US$5.6 billion) in the first three months of this year.

Xiong Jie, a spokesman for the China Civil Aviation Administration, revealed that figure at a press conference on Tuesday.

Xiong Jie said the global aviation sector was hit hard by the Covid-19 epidemic, which had a relatively large impact on its operations.

In the first quarter, the industry suffered a cumulative loss of 39.82 billion yuan, most of which – 33.62 billion yuan (about $4.78 billion) was lost by airlines.

The figures are not surprising. Airlines around the world have been ravaged by the pandemic. 

'Bankrupt by May'

The International Air Transport Association warned in early March that airlines around the world could lose $113 billion if the coronavirus continued to spread, which is exactly what has happened.

Other industry bodies warned that the sector would be bankrupt by May.

The Trump Administration signed a $25-billion agreement this week on financial assistance for 10 US airlines, including four large airlines – Delta, American, United and Southwest.

The US deal aims to help the airlines keep paying workers and avoid bankruptcies in an industry that employs 750,000 people.