Coronavirus gives airlines ‘unprecedented shock’

Coronavirus gives airlines 'unprecedented shock'
Collapsed demand for flights is grounding fleets globallyImage caption: Collapsed demand for flights is grounding fleets globally. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Coronavirus pandemic gives airlines across the globe ‘unprecedented shock’. International Air Transport Association says as the borders of many countries are being shut and travel banned, billions of dollars of the airline industry are under lockdown.

Two million flights already canceled since the outbreak has begun, IATA estimates the industry will lose $252bn (£202bn) in 2020.

Airline companies are demanding emergency funds to survive and several others warned that they are about to collapse.

American Airlines is requesting $12bn in support from the US government while Germany’s Frankfurt airport, which is a major airport in both Germany and for the international hub, said the passenger numbers of the airport have dropped 90.7%.

British Airways has suspended all flights to and from London Gatwick’s airport, and routes operating from Heathrow Airport are severely reduced. On Monday, budget airline EasyJet grounded its whole fleet.

US Congress last week set aside $50bn for airlines, with half the money offered as loans in exchange for not mandating leave of absence for employees until at least 30 September.

Last week, the British chancellor said airlines should not turn to the government first when seeking financial help

Meanwhile, the UK has confirmed that a further 393 people with coronavirus have died in the past day – the biggest daily total so far.

A total of 1,801 people have now died with the virus across the UK, including 367 more in England, 13 in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.

UK airports seek government aid

According to the Airport Operators Association, airports are calling for government assistance after revenues fell to almost nothing.

Nearly all commercial flights are abandoned, but airports need to remain open for medical, military and freight flights.

Karen Dee, the trade body’s chief executive, says the government’s furlough scheme can only ease the pressure to a limited extent since staff are needed to operate the airports.

“The key thing about airports, we are safety-critical businesses and about 70-80% of the cost of running an airport are fixed,” she says.

“That doesn’t change whether it is one flight coming in or 100 flights,” she added.

World leaders fall foul of fake news rules

As the pandemic gets worsen day by day, misinformation has been spreading as widely and as rapidly as the disease itself.

Giant social media networks including Twitter and Facebook, have been under pressure to stamp out medical misinformation on their platforms.

But both the social media company defended themselves by saying they will take a tougher stance, even against posts shared by world leaders.

President Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus. Source: Getty Images

Facebook and Twitter said On Monday, they removed a video posted by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Mr Bolsonaro claimed in that video that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump, was totally effective in treating Covid-19.

Hydroxychloroquine and a related compound, chloroquine, are unproven, experimental treatments.

It is rare for Facebook and Twitter to delete posts by world leaders, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to root-out misinformation more aggressively.

Europe sends Iran medical supplies

The UK, Germany, and France have sent medical supplies to Iran in the first transaction conducted under the Instex financial mechanism set up to get around US economic sanctions.

Germany confirmed that they are sending medical supplies to Iran, but did not say whether the supplies were related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 44,600 people in the Islamic Republic and claimed 2,898 lives.

European leaders said earlier this month that they would be sending Iran laboratory testing equipment, protective body suits and gloves to help fight Covid-19. The leaders also offered $5.5m aid package to Iran.

They hope Instex will provide “a sustainable, long-term solution for legitimate trade” to help preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which is close to collapse because of the sanctions the US reinstated when it abandoned the accord two years ago.

To combat the coronavirus pandemic, Iran has called for the sanctions to be lifted or ignored by the international community.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday accused the Trump administration of engaging in “medical terror” amid the crisis.

“Stop lying,” responded state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Monday. “It’s not the sanctions. It’s the regime.”

Domestic violence cases rise in France

As the world is in lockdown, people have to stay in their homes. With it, domestic violence has seen a surge across the globe.

Cases grew up in the UK, France, and other countries as well.

France’s Secretary of State for Gender Equality Marlène Schiappa said cases went up in Paris by 36% in one week.

The country plans to introduce an emergency warning system in chemists, supermarkets and online for victims of abuse.

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