S&P Ratings: The Swine Flu Impact on Airlines

The recent outbreak of swine flu, which is affecting Mexico City most severely, but has reached other areas around the globe, raises the risk, in the view of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, that airlines could suffer a steep drop in international traffic, as occurred for some in 2003 following the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Fears about SARS triggered brief but substantial declines in passenger traffic and caused financial damage to certain Asian carriers, such as Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (not rated), and had lesser but noticeable effects on some airlines in other regions.

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