An industry already smarting from high oil prices (albeit on its way down) and other problems, like not getting new planes as planned due to the MAX grounding, are now hit by a virus scare, the impact of which cannot yet be estimated in dollars and cents, quite possibly even fatal for some airlines. People are put on furlough, hiring has stopped, part-time and pay reduction are introduced, planes are grounded – like Lufthansa 50% of the fleet, and from China a passenger drop of a staggering 85,5% is reported. European and US carriers have to cope with the White House master planner, banning all flights into the US from the major part of Europe. Shares are down worldwide for an unforeseeable future.
What happens in any four weeks to the industry, apart from the above, is a number of various incidents. In February the list looks like this:
B744 tail-strike on departure. DH8D nose-gear collapse on landing. A319 overran runway on landing. B763 engine shut down in flight, burst tyre on departure. B744 rejected take-off due to trash bin on runway. CRJ1 nose-gear collapse on landing. Cockpit smoke. A320 engine shutdown in flight. A320 burning odour on board. CRJ9 bird strike. B738 overran runway on landing, killing 3. B738 collided with tow truck. A320 could not retract landing gear. A319 strong chemical odour in cockpit. B735 landed short of runway, gear collapse. B752 main gear collapse on landing. B738 flap problem. B738 cracked windshield. B789 tail strike on departure. A320 nose gear did not retract. B733 could not retract landing gear. A319 burning odour on board, autopilot failure. B738 captain incapacitated. Air Italy bankrupt. A319 strong chemical odour in cockpit. BCS3 uncontained engine failure. B738 bird strike. B777 smoke in cabin. A319 smoke in cabin. A319 smoke in cockpit. A320 smoke in cockpit. B752 smoke in cockpit. A321 tail strike due to runway incursion. B777 landing gear fire. E190 dropped nose wheel on landing. A319 burning odour in cabin and cockpit. A320 fumes in cabin. Evacuation after landing with burning tyre. A319 dropped main wheel on departure. A20N rejected takeoff due to engine fire. A321 engine shut-down in flight. A320 could not retract nose gear. A321 bird strike. B773 fumes in cockpit and cabin. B733 runway excursion. SA227 runway excursion. B733 runway excursion on backtrack. Co-pilot eye hit by laser. B734 cockpit smoke. B738 cabin smoke. B738 ground collision. B738 smoke in cabin. A321 loss of both nose gear wheels on landing. B772 loss of communication. A320 severe hard landing. DHC8 engine failure.
If one cares to read through the long list above, one might suspect there are some maintenance and pilot training issues in the industry. Two areas where cost-cutting should be avoided. Cost-cutting, brought on by low-cost carriers, is fighting a battle with the corona virus for first place, in being the greatest threat to aviation, in the spring of 2020.