National airline carrier TAP cancelled around 1,000 flights scheduled through March and April on Thursday after overblown media panic in covering the coronavirus has led to a fall in demand. An unspecified impact on revenues is expected, the airline added.
Separately, organizers of the Lisbon Travel Market — an annual gathering that brings more than 1,000 tourism sector firms from over 40 countries to the Portuguese capital and is visited by tens of thousands of people — announced next week’s event would be postponed until May 27-30.
TAP, which is 50% state-owned, said in a statement that the cancellations would mainly affect destinations in Italy, France and Spain, but also some intercontinental flights, and account for 4% of its total flights in March and 6% in April.
“The drop in demand naturally means lower revenues, therefore TAP has decided to suspend all non-critical investment, review non-essential spending cuts and suspend hiring,” it said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned earlier on Thursday that international worries and disease control measures could starve passenger airlines of up to $113 billion in revenue worldwide this year.