Coronavirus hits come fast for aviation sector

Blurry Virus

The airline industry is becoming a leading indicator of the global economic contraction now projected for the first quarter, and possibly for the full year, as the new coronavirus escapes containment efforts in China.

German companies seem particularly aggressive in trying to cut expenses in line with declining revenue trends as passenger demand dries up. On Friday, Fraport AG, which operates the large European hub in Frankfurt, Germany, and has activities in 30 airports around the world, followed German flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG in announcing a series of cost containment measures.

The airport operator said it is freezing all new hiring except for exceptional circumstances, and offering administrative and operational employees voluntary unpaid leave or temporary reduced working hours to align resources a massive slump in passenger and cargo traffic at Frankfurt Airport.

Fraport has about 20,000 employees and the entire airport supports more than 80,000 jobs. 

The company said it is evaluating other steps to reduce costs and will issue guidance for the current fiscal year when it releases financial results on March 13.