Airline Stocks are Treating Coronavirus Like 9/11. Should You be Worried?

  • Airline stock performance has been a reliable indicator of recession, and they are down 30% in the last ten days alone.
  • The last time airlines dropped this fast was 9/11. They posted similar declines amid the 2007 financial crisis.
  • The World Bank estimates that a global pandemic could shave $3 trillion off global GDP – equivalent to a World War.

Airline stocks are leading the market down with a staggering 30% decline in the last ten days alone. The last time this happened was the aftermath of 9/11 when the airline industry led the wider market into a massive recession. It looks like history is repeating itself.

As coronavirus cases top 100,000, the world may be on the verge of economic catastrophe. According to the World Bank, a massive pandemic could have the same impact as a Global War.

The Travel Industry is Getting Battered

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see travel industry stocks taking the brunt of the coronavirus crisis. An airplane is one of the last places you want to be with a deadly virus going around. Tight spaces combined with recycled air and sleep deprivation are a recipe for disaster.

Consumers are making a rational decision to avoid travel until the situation blows over. And we have no idea how long that will take.

On top of consumer sentiment, government intervention is also causing problems for the airlines. Travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus are expanding with governments around the world placing arrival bans on hard-hit countries and requiring others to quarantine. Business travel is also falling with major firms cutting back on non-essential trips.

Airline Stocks Are Crashing Back to Earth

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) airlines could lose $63-$113 billion in passenger traffic revenue globally in 2020, depending on how fast the coronavirus spreads.

The hardest-hit airlines (in terms of revenue) will be the ones that depend on China flights like China Southern (NYSE: ZNH) and China…

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