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Covid-19 Impact: 12 airlines that did not survive the pandemic

Nearly thirty airlines across the world have folded or filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic. The list of carriers that have had to cut salaries and lay off employees is even longer.

By: Express Web Desk |
October 21, 2020 8:42:21 pm
cathay pacific airways, cathay pacific coronavirus, airlines, covid impact on airlines, flights allowed during coronavirusAircraft operated by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong Airlines Ltd. and Hong Kong Express Airways Ltd. sit parked on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China (File/Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is the latest airline to be hit hard by the crippling impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In an attempt to stay afloat, the city’s de facto flag carrier has announced that it is slashing more than 5,000 jobs and closing its regional Cathay Dragon brand.

But Cathay Pacific is not the only airline that has had to resort to such drastic measures to survive over the last few months. Nearly thirty airlines across the world have folded or filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic. The list of carriers that have had to cut salaries and lay off employees is even longer.

In a recent report, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that the global airline industry will burn through 77 billion dollars in cash during the second half of 2020 despite the resumption of flight services. Sydney-based aviation consultancy CAPA further predicted that around half of all airlines could go out of business by the end of this year.

Here is a list of some of the airlines that went bust during the coronavirus pandemic

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Air Italy: On February 11, less than two years after its first flight took off, Milan-based airline Air Italy announced that it would liquidate. The investors behind the Italian airline, Qatar Airways and the Aga Khan, said that their decision was based on “persistent and structural conditions” in the market.

LATAM Airlines: Chile’s LATAM Airlines was one of the biggest to be choked by the pandemic in May, when it filed for US bankruptcy protection. Last month, the airline announced that it had won approval for a $2.45 billion bankruptcy loan package to help pull it out of crisis.

Virgin Australia: On April 21, Brisbane-based airline Virgin Australia filed for voluntary administration, which is the Australian equivalent of bankruptcy restructuring. With this, the nearly two-decade old airline became the largest in the country’s history to ever collapse. The airline was acquired by Bain Capital last month, under whom it is now being rebranded as a mid-market carrier, Reuters reported.


Compass Airlines: Regional carrier Compass Airlines earlier announced that it would shut down completely by April 7. The airline used to operate flights for American Airlines’ regional subsidiary American Eagle as well as Delta Connection.

Trans States Airlines: Trans States Airlines, the sister company of Compass Airlines, ceased operations on April 1 due to dwindling demand amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Miami Air International: On March 24, charter airline Miami Air International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, before ceasing all operations by May 8.


Flybe: UK-based regional airline Flybe, which was already struggling financially prior to Covid-19, was one of the early casualties of the pandemic. However, seven months after it went bust, the airline was bought by a firm called Thyme Opco who have claimed that it may start flying again from 2021.

Air Deccan: Air Deccan, which was once India’s largest low-cost airline, announced in April that it was ceasing operations and putting all of its employees on unpaid sabbatical, until further notice. Almost a month later, the low cost airline resumed operations in Maharashtra.

Avianca Holdings: South America’s second largest airline, Avianca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York in May. Much like LATAM, the Colombian airline continued to operate flights even during the restructuring process.

South African Airways: South Africa’s state-owned airlines South African Airways suspended all its operations last month as it struggled to raise a hefty 10 billion rands ($591 million) bailout, AP reported. The airline has been accused of widespread corruption and mismanagement.

SunExpress Germany: In June, Lufthansa announced that it was shutting down operations of its subsidiary SunExpress, a joint-venture created by Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.


AirAsia Japan: AirAsia Japan announced that it was ceasing operations on October 5, categorically laying the blame on the Covid-19 pandemic.

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First published on: 21-10-2020 at 08:42:21 pm

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