Pigs won't fly - swine flu threatens airline industry

27 April 2009

As if the global recession wasn't enough of a threat to the airline industry, now they're under attack from pigs. The merest whisper of a global pandemic has caused worry amongst shareholders, who are selling up in case the latest media bandwagon has any legs to it - if you can imagine a wagon with legs.

The economic impact of the Mexican swine flu outbreak and the threat of international travel restrictions caused BA's share price to drop nearly 9 per cent this morning. Shares in Air France-KLM have fell by almost 8 per cent while Germany's Lufthansa is down by more than 12 per cent. Quantas and Cathay Pacific also suffered losses. Tour operators and hotels have also been affected - shares in Thomas Cook have dropped nearly 8 per cent too and InterContinental Hotels dropped 5 per cent.

Yesterday, US homeland security secretary declared a public health emergency in the US. Although such an announcement is a long way from bringing about international travel restrictions - to do so would cause massive damage to an already hampered economy - it's been enough to worry shareholders concerned about an industry drowning in fuel surcharges, taxation and a lack of consumer demand during a recession set to last at least another year.

Meanwhile, suspected cases continue to be reported from around the globe; several mash-ups have been created to keep track of the media reports and confirmed fatalities, including this Google Map:

TOPICS:   Travel


  • Mike H.
    I hate pigs, 1st they set up speed cameras, then they decide to infect the world with a virus! Oh, you don't mean that kind of pig, right.
  • thend
    Thia is the end......
  • The B.
    Like no one's ever worried about American swine before, just look at the state of Iraq.
  • Mike
    I wonder how long before Ryan Air brings out a marketing offer involving pigs and flying.
  • Jill
    I guessed that there would be some pretty cheap flights to Mexico City at the moment but British Airways are charging over a thousand pounds just for economy!
  • How B.
    [...] it on the airline industry of the 1970s (and not the current one). Frequent flier mileage programs were the precursors to today’s shopping loyalty programs, and [...]
  • Ryanair B.
    [...] two days ago, Bitterwallet reader Mike read our post on the swine flu epidemic effect on the airline trade, and thought out [...]
  • Lewmarr M.
    Confirmation is anticipated later on today for the first event of to human being human transfer of swine flu in Britain. It is thought to be a acquaintance of Lain and Dawn Askham, who were the first confirmed victims in Great Britain and they gathered after their homecoming from honeymoon in United Mexican States. at the start the man was cleared but later his symptoms continued he was re examined and was ascertained to be suffering from Type A flu. Examinations are still in progress but are expected to confirm swine influenza. This today takes the aggregate number of swine influenza sufferers in the United Kingdom to 8 -that's 6 in England 2 in Scotland but as yet no deceases.

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