Qantas shares drop to almost three-year low

written by Adam Thorn | March 6, 2020

Qantas shares plunged 8 per cent on Friday, trading at just $4.68 – close to a three-year low.

The news came as the airline announced a raft of cuts to its service, including reducing flights to Hong Kong, Auckland, Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo.

Qantas said in a statement, “The coronavirus situation and its impact on international travel demand is evolving and we’re monitoring closely. Further changes are expected.”

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The news comes after Virgin Australia’s share price dipped below 10 cents on Monday and days after credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded its outlook to negative.

On Friday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said coronavirus could cost the aviation industry four times as much as previously thought.

IATA now estimates the financial impact at $63 billion if the virus is contained within current markets, and $113 billion if it spreads to previously less-affected markets.

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Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s chief executive, said, “The turn of events as a result of COVID-19 is almost without precedent. In little over two months, the industry’s prospects in much of the world have taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

“It is unclear how the virus will develop, but whether we see the impact contained to a few markets and a $63 billion revenue loss, or a broader impact leading to a $113 billion loss of revenue, this is a crisis.”

Qantas had itself earlier predicted COVID-19 would cost it up to $150 million.

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