Airline Stocks Keep Nosediving As British Airways Owner Warns Of Corona Hit

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Airline stocks continued their plunging descent on Friday, as British Airways owner IAG and budget carrier EasyJet issued warnings on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and signaled more canceled flights.

IAG, which also owns Spanish airline Iberia, said earnings would be “adversely affected” by the outbreak but that the continuing uncertainty meant it was still not able to give updated 2020 profit guidance. The stock fell 5.7% in early trading and has now plummeted 27% since the first coronavirus death was reported in the middle of January.

Passenger numbers on its Italian routes in March have been “significantly reduced,” it said, following a surge in the number of cases in the country. Demand continues to be weak on Asian and European routes, it added.

British Airways flights to and from mainland China have been suspended since the end of January, while flights to Hong Kong have been reduced. The company said flights to Seoul would be cut from Mar. 13 and that flights to and from Italy were also being canceled or reduced in number. Despite the lack of profit guidance, IAG said it had lowered its full-year passenger numbers forecast by 1%.