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Virus Seen Pushing Some Struggling Airlines Out of Business

  • Qantas CEO says some carriers may not make it through
  • Airline stocks have sunk since fears over the virus escalated
A traveler walks with luggage wearing a protective mask at Narita Airport in Japan, on Jan. 22.
A traveler walks with luggage wearing a protective mask at Narita Airport in Japan, on Jan. 22.Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
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The fast-spreading coronavirus could spell the end for the weakest airlines as travel demand dries up in and out of China.

The outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city Wuhan, has claimed 170 lives. Total infections have soared past 7,700 in China, surpassing the country’s official number from the 2003 SARS epidemic. SARS cost the global economy an estimated $40 billion in just six months and led to a 45% plunge in traffic for Asia-Pacific carriers in April that year.