Coronavirus empties airlines’ cash drawers, knocks $157 billion off share values

Global airlines are fast running out of cash after cutting capacity by 90% or even grounding entire fleets due to the broad travel restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, calling into question the survival of several firms.

The outbreak of the flu-like virus has wiped 41%, or $157 billion, off the share value of the world’s 116 listed airlines, with many using up their cash so fast they can now cover less than two months of expenses.

The industry’s main global body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), estimates the sector needs up to $200 billion in government support to help airlines survive.

The following charts show airlines’ liquidity ratios, and their changes in cash and debt levels against core earnings.

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