The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday predicted a $27.8 billion revenue loss in 2020 for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

The carriers in China would bear $12.8 billion loss in its domestic market alone. Considering that, IATA forecasted a growth of 4.8% in the region’s airlines, the net impact will be of 8.2% full-year contraction compared to 2019 demand levels and has a potential of 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Apart from that, IATA predicts that a revenue loss of $1.5 billion will be borne by carriers outside Asia-Pacific, assuming the loss of demand is limited to market linked to China. This would bring the global lost revenue to $29.3 billion and represent a 4.7% hit to the global demand.

“These are challenging times for the global air transport industry. Stopping the spread of the virus is the top priority. Airlines are following the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health authorities to keep passengers safe, the world connected, and the virus contained. The sharp downturn in demand as a result of COVID-19 will have a financial impact on airlines—severe for those particularly exposed to the China market. We estimate that global traffic will be reduced by 4.7% by the virus, which could more than offset the growth we previously forecast and cause the first overall decline in demand since the SARS crisis of 2003. And that scenario would translate into lost passenger revenues of $29.3 billion. Airlines are making difficult decisions to cut capacity and in some cases routes. Lower fuel costs will help offset some of the lost revenue. This will be a very tough year for airlines.”

~Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA

If the COVID-19 spreads more widely to Asia-Pacific markets then impact on airlines from other regions would be larger.