It came. It spread. It conquered.
Ever since Wuhan reported its patient zero for the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in November, 2019, the world has not been able to heave a sigh of relief. The virus has penetrated and continues to penetrate into receptacles of almost every country you can name – the burden being distributed asymmetrically. The streets have been deserted, flights and trains have been suspended, companies have come to a standstill, and the common man has been trapped inside the four walls of his own house – for a period of time that even the highest authorities are unable to state. Quarantine and social distancing have taken the role of those uninvited guests in our day-to-day life, who barge inside without a knock. Hygiene and sanitisation practices have taken birth as a new religion, while people all around are going frenzy over immunity boosting techniques. As healthcare and pharma giants worldwide struggle to find a potential cure, SMEs and start-ups are also joining forces and working round-the-clock amid this invisible battle – or rather microscopically-visible battle. Albeit, keeping the possibility of mass commercial availability of a viable vaccine at bay, let us break down and scrutinise the consequences of this pandemic on businesses – sector by sector.
Aviation and Tourism
We haven’t been able to break down the anatomy of the virus yet; thankfully we can dismantle the anatomy of its pandemic. If any sector is suffering the most owing to this pandemic, it is the aviation and tourism industry. Since flights are the primary medium for long-distance traveling within and in between countries; they impose maximum threat for spreading the virus. On January 13, Thailand became the second country to report coronavirus case, after a woman flew there from Wuhan. COVID positive patients there on traveled from China to a number of countries including US, Nepal, France, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and subsequently from these countries to the rest; having resulted in the massive outbreak which is uncontrollable at present. Keeping this in mind, airline industries across the globe issued guidelines to ban all international and domestic flights in light of the situation. Along with flights, the Bureau of Immigration, India – among many countries’ – announced ban on issuance of all types of visas exempting diplomatic, official, employment, and project. Bookings made prior with the airlines had to be refunded or were issued a credit note against them. Tracking data from FlightRadar over the past 90 days shows that the number of commercial flights declined from over 1,00,000 till mid-March to less than 25,000 as on April 19 – a fall of about 75 per cent – as more and more countries impose restrictions.Add alt text
Today, airlines is facing one of its worst crisis ever in history. While India’s aviation sector alone will report estimated losses in excess of 8,200 crore INR (approximately 1.08 million USD) in the coming quarter, the world on the other hand has to brace itself up for a catastrophic debt of 314 billion USD – as per Statista. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on April 14 asserted that global air passenger revenues have seen a 55 per cent decline in 2020 compared to 2019 levels. IATA is claiming that the airline industry is on the verge of a collapse and has asked the government for financial aid and rescue packages. Below are satellite-shot videos released by The Guardian showing air traffic across major parts of Europe, before an after the Corona outbreak.