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Air France-KLM warns of worse to come after virus hits passenger numbers

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Air-France KLM warned Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak will hit its business harder in coming months after February passenger numbers fell 0.5 per cent overall as flights to China were cut.

[PARIS] Air-France KLM warned Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak will hit its business harder in coming months after February passenger numbers fell 0.5 per cent overall as flights to China were cut.

The slowdown in February "essentially reflects the cancellation of all our China flights and the initial impact of COVID-19 in Asia," the group said in a statement.

"The coming months will be much more seriously impacted by the spread of COVID-19 to other regions and wider cuts in capacity," it added.

Air France has so far suspended flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei while reducing services to Seoul and Singapore, all key destinations.

Flights to Italy, which has become the second most affected country after China, have also been slashed while European services have been cut 25 per cent.

Overall, passengers carried on Asian flights in February were down 24.5 per cent but North America was up 13.7 per cent, Latin America gained 6.0 per cent, Africa/Middle East rose 8.7 per cent and the Caribbean/Indian Ocean 1.8 per cent.

Last month, Air France-KLM put the coronavirus cost to the airline at 150-200 million euros up to April.

 

AFP