Airlines in Freefall as Trump Shuts Europe Routes

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It's worse than the fallout that occurred in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

That's what analysts and certainly investors are saying about the fate of the airline industry as carriers take wallop after wallop related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Airline stocks swooned yet again on Thursday after President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on Europeans traveling to the U.S., hammering an industry already at risk of losing as much as $113 billion in passenger revenue this year because of the coronavirus.

The controls will inevitably mean more cancelled flights and routes at U.S. and international airlines, starting with Europe and likely extending globally, as travel demand craters.

More significantly, they deal a significant blow to an industry that was already reeling from massive passenger departures, cancelled routes and flight bans to other countries and regions as the virus outbreak continues its unrelenting march around the globe.

The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, had already estimated that the airline industry globally could take a hit of up to $113 billion from virus-related travel disruptions.

“As the scenario continues to evolve, so does the assessed impact,” IATA, which represents about 290 airlines globally, said in a statement Thursday after Trump's announcement.

While Trump and other White House officials had met with travel industry executives this week, Thursday’s travel ban, specifically its scope and scale, caught the airline industry and many others off-guard. 

Since Jan. 20 - the week that the first Covid-19 cases outside China emerged including the first patient in the U.S. - the airlines shares collectively have fallen more than 40%.

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