Seven weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., the spread of the virus that causes the disease has done widespread damage to critical economic sectors in the country. Airlines are cutting capacity, people are working from home, major public events that raise millions of dollars for local communities have been cancelled, including this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston. The Associated Press is publishing a running tally of the affects of the coronavirus on people, businesses, and the economy.
TURBULENCE IN THE AIR: Europe’s airports say they expect 187 million fewer passengers this year due to the virus outbreak, which is “turning into a shock of unprecedented proportions for our industry.” The ACI Europe, which represents the sector, estimated Tuesday that the outbreak will mean a 13.5% drop in airport passengers in the first quarter alone. That translates to 1.32 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in lost revenue. Airports in Italy, where a nationwide quarantine was put in place Tuesday, are most affected. Some 9,172 people have been infected in Italy, and 463 have died.
“What they are now bracing for is a total collapse in air connectivity and the prospect of losing most of their revenues,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe. He called on the Italian government to provide emergency financial support, and said that might be necessary across the EU if more authorities clamp down on travel.
Airlines continue to slash capacity as travelers cancel flights or avoid them all together. American Airlines cut international capacity by 10% for the summer Tuesday and will trim domestic capacity by 7.5% next month as millions second guess vacations or business travel. The airline is suspending flights between Los Angeles and mainland China and Hong Kong for the entire summer. It suspended flights between Philadelphia and Rome immediately Tuesday. That hold will remain in place through the end of April.: Delta Air Lines on Tuesday cut international capacity by 20% to 25% and will reduce domestic capacity by 10% to 15%. It also announced a hiring freeze and is offering employees voluntary leave.
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are allowing passengers to rebook tickets through April 30 without paying fees.
Finnair continues to alter its flight schedules. Finland’s national carrier this month announced temporary layoffs of between 14 days up to one month for its entire staff based in country, affecting more than 6,000 employees. The carrier, which as cancelled 1,400 flights, said Tuesday that it would cancel flights to and from Bologna, Stuttgart, Split, Umea in Sweden, and Venice for the entirety of April.
LEISURE LATER, MAYBE: Vail Resorts is withdrawing its forecast for the entire year. The company said visits were modestly below expectations last week, but it believes that could grow worse.
The online travel company that owns Kayak and other sites withdrew its guidance for the quarter citing the worsening impact of the virus on travel. Booking Holdings said that travel demand, especially in North America and Europe, has fallen. Because of the “rapidly evolving situation,” the company it’s unable to issue a new forecast. Booking said it would offer an update in May.
BIG BANKS AND THE FED: The Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies are encouraging financial institutions to meet the needs of customers affected by coronavirus. They vowed to give them the regulatory leeway to do so. “Prudent efforts that are consistent with safe and sound lending practices should not be subject to examiner criticism,” the Fed said in a prepared statement along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller General.
THE WORKPLACE: A worker at Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is in quarantine and co-workers who’ve been in close contact with the individual have been asked to self-quarantine and self-monitor, the company said. The company previously told employees in the Puget Sound area to work from home. Washington state at one point had the highest number of people infected with the coronavirus, prompting the tech industry that is heavy in the area to roll out travel and work restrictions.
Santander, Spain’s largest bank, ordered its employees in Madrid to work from home for the next two weeks on Tuesday and told shareholders to participate remotely, or vote beforehand, in the April 3 annual shareholders’ meeting on April 3.
MARKETS: Global stock markets rebounded from record-setting declines after President Donald Trump said he would ask Congress for a tax cut and other measures to ease the pain of the spreading coronavirus outbreak.
Oil prices also recovered some of their losses from Monday’s record-setting plunge.
London opened 1.8% higher and Frankfurt advanced 1%. China’s main stock index rose 1.8% and Tokyo closed up 0.9%.
On Wall Street, which suffered its biggest one-day drop since the 2008 global crisis on Monday, stocks open sharply higher with the Dow surging 850 points.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.