$4 FLIGHT: Hit on travel industry deepens with US ban on flights between Europe

As President Donald Trump decides to cut travel between Europe and the United States for the next 30 days, the travel industry is taking a beating. 

Some airlines have suspended routes while others are offering deep discounts in order to encourage air travel.

The Guardian newspaper notes that a flight between Shanghai and Chongqing now costs $4, “about the price of a tall latte at Starbucks.”

It adds, “ Flights from New York to Miami were on offer for $51 last week, roughly the same as the cab fare from the airport to Manhattan.”

With workers, consumers and vacationers opting to stay at home by the thousands, things are in a bad way for hotels, cruise lines, and others who offer services in transport. The coronavirus continues to spread, heading toward the 150,000 infection mark globally.

The New York Times reported Thursday morning that European stocks plunged in early trading as investors digested the consequences of President Trump’s 30-day travel ban on most European visitors to the United States.

The Guardian links the poor outlook for airlines, hotels and cruise companies to the dip in oil prices this week which has affected investor confidence. Airlines, cruise lines and hotels are describing the fall in bookings as precipitous.

Analysts calculate that revenue worldwide this year could decline by between $63 billion and $113 billion, or as much as 20 per cent. They are comparing the crisis to 9/11 when airline revenues fell by 7 per cent, or $23 billion, according to IATA. Stocks which are still plunging include  Carnival,  Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.

Several countries have warned older travellers against taking cruises. Both cruise lines and planes are not suspected of offering a greater threat of transmission than spaces which are not enclosed. Buses operating in cold weather  have also been reported by researchers as sources of higher transmission.

Analysts at the Guardian noted meanwhile, “Hotel stocks fell off a cliff at the end of the month due to mounting Covid-19 concerns domestically, and the broader stock market correction has disproportionately impacted travel-related stocks.”

Rental cars, Uber, Lyft  and train services are also being impacted.