Russian air carriers show no major impact from coronavirus in February

Russian air carriers show no major impact from coronavirus in February
There was no significant impact on Russia's aviation business from the pandemic in February. Aeroflot saw passengers carried down 4% y/y but up 32% for its budget carrier Pobeda.
By bne IntelliNews March 12, 2020

Preliminary aviation industry statistics for February released by Russia's Federal Agency for Air Transportation show no major impact on passenger numbers due to the coronavirus.

The number of passengers carried decreased by 4% y/y for the flagship national Aeroflot airline and 13% for its subsidiary Rossiya, but increased by 32% for Aeroflot's fastest growing lowcost subsidiary Pobeda.

"These numbers do not indicate a substantial change in the y/y dynamics versus January. Overall, the market grew 6.5% y/y in terms of passengers carried," Sberbank CIB noted on March 11.

However, ”the major impact of the virus will clearly appear in the upcoming months. Aeroflot and other airlines have started to decrease the frequency of flights and have suspended flights to certain destinations as the coronavirus outbreak has spread," Sberbank warns.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, Russian tourism operators has already suffered a RUB27bn ($406mn) loss due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

On March 11 the World Health Organisation officially declared coronavirus to be a pandemic after the illness has spread to 114 countries.

Italy this week closed all retail outlets other than food shops and pharmacies. Most Central European have closed schools and universities, except Germany. And the US cancelled all flights to Europe for 30 days, with the exception of those with the UK.

"We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on March 11. "We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear." 

There are 118,000 cases, more than 4,000 deaths, the agency said, and the virus has found a foothold on every continent except for Antarctica.

"We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time," Ghebreyesus said.

The last pandemic reported in the world was the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.