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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has predicted that Q1 2020 gross operating revenues for airlines globally may drop by $4-$5bn due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The UN aviation agency has reported that around 70 airlines have cancelled all connections, international flights to/from mainland China so far. Another 50 airlines have reduced their associated air operations.

The temporary ban on flight operations has reduced foreign airline capacity for travellers directly to/from China to 80%, and Chinese airlines capacity to 40%.

According to ICAO’s preliminary estimates, there is an overall reduction ranging from 39% to 41% of passenger capacity during Q1. This is equivalent to a reduction of 16.4 to 19.6 million passengers.

ICAO estimates that the reduction in travellers could result in Japan losing $1.29bn and Thailand $1.15bn in tourism revenue.

In a statement, ICAO said: “The above estimates do not include potential impacts due to reductions in international air freight movements on cargo-only aircraft, airports, air navigation service providers, to Chinese domestic air traffic, or to international traffic with respect to the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China, or its Taiwan province.”

The agency noted that China’s international air traffic has increased by two-fold and its domestic traffic by five times since 2003.

The agency also expected that the impact of coronavirus, which was renamed by WHO as COVID-19, will be greater when compared with the 2003 SARS epidemic.

COVID-19 has killed 1,383 people as of the end of 13 February.

Confirmed cases have reached 64,429, with China, Hong Kong and Macau account for 63,911. Meanwhile, the total number of recoveries stands at 6,886.