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Air France predicts €200m coronavirus costs in just three months

written by Adam Thorn | February 21, 2020

Air France has become the latest airline to warn that the coronavirus outbreak will affect profits, estimating its impact on the business at between €150 million and €200 million between February and April alone.

It also added on Thursday that it was cancelling all flights to mainland China until the end of March.

The news comes after Qantas made a similar statement the day before.

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The Australian carrier claimed the outbreak would cost it up to $150 million.

An Air France Airbus A380. (Rob Finlayson)
An Air France Airbus A380. (Rob Finlayson)

Air France-KLM said in a statement, “Assuming a progressive resumption of (full-scale) operations from April, the estimated impact of COVID-19 on operating income is for a €150 to €200 million hit between February and April.”

The warning came after the airline announced a 31 per cent drop in profit to €290 million, which the company blamed on a fall-off in freight and rising fuel bills.

However, Air France-KLM director-general Ben Smith indicated he does not believe the virus would affect the airline’s strategic five-year plan to lift the medium-term operating margin to 7-8 per cent from 5 per cent in 2018.

So far, the majority of major airlines have begun reducing flights to China, including British Airways, Air Canada, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta.

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The International Civil Aviation Organisation last week estimated that coronavirus could cause a $4-5 billion drop in worldwide airline revenue.

Chinese officials have announced the death toll from the disease has risen to 2,236, with more than 75,000 reported cases.

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