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Airlines have been quick to pull flights to mainland China, but countries across the region are feeling the reverberations in their tourism industries.

The U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) forecast global airline revenue could fall by $4 billion to $5 billion (£3.8 billion) in the first quarter due to flight cancellations linked to the coronavirus outbreak, it said in a statement.

The Montreal-based agency said on Wednesday the virus was expected to have a greater industry impact than that caused by the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory System (SARS) epidemic, in light of the higher volume and greater global extent of the flight cancellations being seen.

ICAO said around 70 airlines have cancelled all international flights to and from mainland China and a further 50 airlines have curtailed operations.

This has resulted in an 80% reduction of foreign airline capacity for travellers directly to and from China, and a 40% capacity reduction by Chinese airlines, the agency said.

The preliminary estimate does not include potential impacts on cargo-only aircraft, airports, air navigation service providers, to Chinese domestic air traffic, or to international traffic with respect to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, ICAO said.

The agency also forecast that Japan could lose $1.29 billion of tourism revenue in the first quarter due to the drop in Chinese travellers and Thailand could lose $1.15 billion.

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Tags: asia, china, coronavirus, hong kong

Photo credit: Aircraft and the sun. the global aviation industry is likely to take a significant hit from the coronavirus outbreak. Bernal Saborio / Flickr

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