Coronavirus, or Covid-19, has the potential to have the same impact on airlines as it is having on mankind.
The sense is that Covid-19 will affect those already impacted by other conditions – simply put the fittest survive, the weakest fail. It could be the same for airlines as the current epidemic and its associated impacts tip some over the edge.
Flybe is in focus once again and time has now run out, with the Grim Reaper paying another visit less than two months since the last knock at the door. However hard the current management team worked, events appeared to conspire against them; no one could have predicted Covid-19 and its potential impact in early January.
Much has been made of the recent efforts to start turning Flybe’s business around, moving its Heathrow-Newquay service to Gatwick, some scheduling changes but nothing too significant in two months. That would probably be a huge ask in such a short period of time. Previous management strategies are probably more responsible for the situation faced today than the recent efforts, but that doesn’t help the dedicated workforce.
Consumer confidence appears damaged by the threat of Covid-19 leading to forward booking activity for many airlines falling by at least 25% in what would normally be a strong booking period leading up to Easter and the May public holidays.