Coronavirus empties airlines' cash drawers, knocks $157 billion off share values

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© Reuters. Flight attendants stand at the end of rows of empty seats aboard a Delta flight from New York to San Francisco© Reuters. Flight attendants stand at the end of rows of empty seats aboard a Delta flight from New York to San Francisco

By Patturaja Murugaboopathy

(Reuters) – Global airlines are fast running out of cash after cutting capacity by 90% or even grounding entire fleets due to the broad travel restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, calling into question the survival of several firms.

The outbreak of the flu-like virus has wiped 41%, or $157 billion, off the share value of the world’s 116 listed airlines, with many using up their cash so fast they can now cover less than two months of expenses, a Reuters analysis showed.

The industry’s main global body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), estimates the sector needs up to $200 billion in government support to help airlines survive.

The following charts show airlines’ liquidity ratios, and their changes in cash and debt levels against core earnings.

(GRAPHIC: Airlines’ change in cash levels –

(GRAPHIC: Airline firms’ current ratios –

(GRAPHIC: Airline firms’ net debt-to-EBITDA ratios –

(GRAPHIC: Cash on hand by region –

(GRAPHIC: Airline firms’ debt-to-equity ratios –

(GRAPHIC: Airline market cap –

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