US Travel Ban Could Cost Airlines $2bn in Lost Revenue

The US Government ban on air travel between Europe and the US could cost $2bn in lost revenue over the 30-day suspension period, according to travel and data analytics firm Cirium.

The data shows a total of 24,500 transatlantic flights were scheduled to operate between the two continents from March 14 to April 12, 2020. This equates to an estimated lost passenger capacity of 5.5m available seats.

The analysis by Cirium also indicates that losing this number of seats along could result in a loss of $2bn in passenger revenue, calculated using a revenue per available seat mile (RASM) of $0.09. 

Alistair Rivers, director of market development – airlines and airports at Cirium, said: “While $2bn may seem like a small figure, in comparison to what the major US carriers generate alone for Atlantic flights, this represents a significant loss considering the ban only applies to Schengen countries and the UK over a 30-day period.

“As airlines around the world react to government restrictions placed on travel, their clear objectives for now are to help contain the spread of the virus – protecting people – and at the same time try to survive this unprecedented crisis.”

London/Heathrow is the European airport most heavily affected by the drastic suspension of flights. The hub is expected to lose a total of 820,000 scheduled transatlantic seats over the 30-day period. Following closely behind are major European gateways like Paris/Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt/Main, Amsterdam/Schiphol and Dublin with are all set to each lose a total of 370,000, 340,000, 290,000 and 160,000 seats respectively.

Heathrow Airports Limited
Heathrow is expected to be the most heavily affected by the ban and is set to lose a total of 820,000 seats over the 30-day period. Heathrow Airports Limited

As for the carriers, Delta Air Lines is expected to be most affected by the ban and is set to lose more than 830,000 seats over the period. United Airlines is set to be the second most impacted by the ban, potentially losing over 770,000 scheduled seats, followed by UK flag carrier British Airways, which is likely to suffer the loss of more than 750,000 seats.

The forecast comes as the ban on travel from 26 Schengen countries – which now includes the UK and Republic of Ireland – was brought into force this week.