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US ban on travel from Europe could cost US$2bn in lost revenue, says travel data expert Cirium

The US Government ban on air travel between Europe and the United States could cost US$2bn in lost revenue over the ban’s 30-day period, according to travel data and analytics expert Cirium.
Cirium’s data shows a total of 24,500 transatlantic flights were scheduled to operate between the US and Europe from March 14 to April 12, 2020, which started from midnight on 13 March. This equates to a lost passenger capacity of 5.5 million available seats.


The analysis indicates that losing this number of seats alone could result in a loss of US$2bn in passenger revenue, calculated using Revenue Per Available Seat Mile (RASM).

The forecast comes as the ban on travel from 26 Schengen countries was brought into force this week as well as the recent extensions to the UK and Ireland.

Alistair Rivers, Director of Market Development – Airlines and Airports at Cirium, said: “While US$2bn may seem like a small figure in comparison to what the major US carriers generate alone for Atlantic flights, this represents a significant loss considering the ban only applies to Schengen countries and the UK over a 30-day period.

“As airlines around the world react to government restrictions placed on travel, their clear objectives for now are to help contain the spread of the virus – protecting people – and at the same time try to survive this unprecedented crisis.”

London Heathrow is the European airport most heavily affected by the drastic suspension of flights, expected to lose a total of 820,000 scheduled transatlantic seats over the 30-day period.

Close behind are major European hubs Paris Charles de Gaulle, estimated to lose a total of 370,000 seats; Frankfurt, potentially losing over 340,000 seats; Amsterdam, expected to lose over 290,000 seats and Dublin, which is projected to lose over 160,000 seats.

Cirium data also reveals that Delta Air Lines, the carrier most affected by the ban, is expected to lose more than 830,000 seats scheduled over the 30-day period.

United Airlines is second most affected, potentially losing over 770,000 scheduled seats, followed by UK flag carrier British Airways, with over 750,000 seats; American Airlines, with over 690,000 seats and German carrier Lufthansa, with over 600,000 seats.

The restrictions on travel from Europe is in addition to the existing US ban on flights to and from Italy, the country which has become the new global epicentre of the pandemic.

Cirium analysis shows that 21,000 flights to, from and within Italy have been cancelled from when flights started to reduce on February 28 to March 16. This includes 4,800 domestic services and 17,000 international flights, accounting for 44% of total scheduled flights for the period.

In comparison, flights cancelled to, from and within Italy from January 1 to February 27, before the virus outbreak, accounted for just 6% of total scheduled flights and this included a strike in the region which affected operations on February 25, 2020.  

Looking at March 16, 2020, as a snapshot, more than 2,100 flights were cancelled out of an original schedule of 2,200 flights – equating to 95% of total scheduled services on this day. Meanwhile, as cases of COVID-19 continue to fall in China, where the virus was first reported, international air travel remains largely restricted.  

Cirium data shows that from January 1 to March 16, 2020, more than 570,000 flights have been cancelled to, from and within China. This equates to a cancellation rate of over 47% against original flight schedules.  

Year on year, scheduled domestic traffic is down by over a third (33%) while international schedule growth for flights to and from China is down by 81%.

For updates on COVID-19, please visit Cirium’s Thought Cloud blog for updated stories or go to its Coronavirus Aviation Impact centre for the latest figures on flights to, from and within China.

Cirium’s dedicated team of expert data analysts are continuing to assess the impact of the coronavirus on global air travel. Its insights are based on data from the Cirium Core – the number one aviation and air travel data analytics source.

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