The coronavirus outbreak is forecast to cost Air France-KLM up to €200 million in the three months to April.

The European airline group warned that long-haul forward booking load factors were down, with the virus particularly hitting demand on Asian operations.

“This impact on operating result is estimated as the sum of associated loss of revenue due to suspension of China operations for passenger and cargo, negative impact for connecting traffic and weakness in rest of Asia and variable cost savings as no redeployment so far is taken into account,” the company said.


Podcast: Coronavirus: how serious is it and what impact will it have long term?


Qantas revealed yesterday that the outbreak would result in a hit of up to A$150 million for the financial year as Asia capacity is cut by 15% until May.

The Air France-KLM warning came as the group announced a €130 million fall in 2019 net profit to €290 million over the previous year.

The overall operating result was down by 18.8% to €1.1 billion due to a “challenging” trading environment and higher fuel costs.


MoreCoronavirus slump in demand to cost airlines almost $30bn


The 2020 fuel bill is expected to drop by €300 million over last year to €5.2 billion.

Chief executive Benjamin Smith said: “Over the year we reinforced our foundations to build a European champion, notably through fleet optimisation and restored trust that led to social stability and positive labour agreements at Air France and new collective labour agreements at KLM.

“In November, we outlined our strategic plan with a substantial further step-up in financial performance foreseen, and we begin on this five-year trajectory with a robust financial structure and strong unique assets.”

KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers noted “uncertainty about the growth outlook at Schiphol” and said: “The ongoing coronavirus outbreak confirms once again how sensitive our industry is to factors beyond our control.

“We must therefore continue to focus on our costs, our agility in making changes and the improvement of our margins.”