Airlines have been dealt a further blow as a number of multinational companies have imposed a travel ban on employees amid intensifying panic over global swine flu.
Companies suspending non-essential overseas travel include Nokia, Adidas, Samsung, Honda and Swiss Re. The moves come as a double whammy to the premium class revenues of airlines, which are also reeling from the global downturn.A spokesman for British Airways said the airline was operating as normal and that it was “far too early to tell” to determine how the swine flu outbreak would harm the business.
Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association, believes the outbreak of swine flu would directly impact the aviation industry at the worst possible time.
“It is still too early to judge what the impact of swine flu will have on the bottom line. But it is sure that anything that shakes the confidence of passengers has a negative impact on the business,” he said. “And the timing could not be worse given all of the other economic problems airlines are facing.”
With the death toll reaching a suspected 154, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the swine virus pandemic cannot be contained, and could infect one in four of the British population.
China, the world’s biggest pork consumer, has banned pig-product imports from Mexico and parts of the US where cases of the virus have been confirmed.