In response to the spread of the coronavirus, the U.S. has closed its borders to anyone who has visited Iran in the previous 14 days and is warning against travel to South Korea and parts of Italy. The Trump administration also has threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border.
The strictures add to the travel industry’s troubles.
Lufthansa, the German airline, has canceled flights to mainland China and scaled back routes to and from Hong Kong. Russia is canceling Korean flights, has suggested its citizens don’t visit Italy, and is suspending visas issued to Iranians.
Delta and American airlines have canceled flights between the U.S. and Milan, Italy.
The virus scare has canceled as many as 25,000 airline flights a day, leading an airline trade group to warn that the cutbacks could cost the global airline industry $30 billion this year.
Air France-KLM said it could lose €200 million in profits to the virus and more if China flights don’t resume by mid-April.
As a result, many of Europe’s airlines have halted hiring and frozen capital spending in hopes of remaining profitable during the coronavirus crisis.
Lufthansa’s management circulated an internal letter urging all departments to cut costs.
Business travel, often the most reliable source of airline income, hasn’t been spared.
A poll of 401 companies by the Global Business Travel Association found that almost 300 of the companies have canceled trips to Hong Kong and about 200 scrapped visits to Taiwan to avoid the coronavirus.
Now businesses are beginning to scratch travel to European countries for the same reason. About 100 companies have cut back, but only about 30 businesses said they have canceled most of the European travel.
Nestle has canceled all international travel for its 352,000 employees worldwide.
More than 300 respondents also reported canceling some meetings or events, and about 80 said they had canceled “many.”
On 25 February, the German cities of Cologne and Frankfurt canceled two large trade fairs. The cancellations will slash revenues for local hotels and restaurants.
The cutbacks are rippling through travel hubs, with Dubai’s hotel occupancy rate down as much as 18 percent during the first half of February. Marriott warned it could lose $25 million a month in franchise holders’ fees if the coronavirus kills travel for an extended period.

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