Pigs won't fly - swine flu threatens airline industry
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: