Numerous airlines are temporarily suspending or drastically reducing their operations as the travel industry is experiencing record low demand as COVID-19 spreads around the world.
The fear of contracting the virus combined with government restrictions on travel has negatively impacted the travel industry in a way that hasn’t been seen since after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Airlines began canceling flights to hotspots including China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran as the virus spread outwards from Wuhan. But the industry quickly saw a reduction in demand to all destinations as cases popped up in almost every continent.
As cancellations starting overtaking bookings, airlines took measures to inspire confidence in booking flights by waiving change and/or cancellation fees for future bookings.
The reduction in demand was worsened by travel restrictions set in place by US President Donald Trump that closed US borders to travelers who had visited the European Schengen Area, which was later expanded to include the UK and Ireland.