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Coronavirus empties airlines' cash drawers, knocks $157 billion off share values

By Patturaja Murugaboopathy
People wave to a plane landing in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

By Patturaja Murugaboopathy

(Reuters) - Global airlines are fast running out of cash after cutting capacity by 90% or even grounding entire fleets due to the broad travel restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, calling into question the survival of several firms.

The outbreak of the flu-like virus has wiped 41%, or $157 billion (129.48 billion pounds), off the share value of the world's 116 listed airlines, with many using up their cash so fast they can now cover less than two months of expenses, a Reuters analysis showed.

The industry's main global body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), estimates the sector needs up to $200 billion in government support to help airlines survive.

The following charts show airlines' liquidity ratios, and their changes in cash and debt levels against core earnings.


(Graphic: Airlines' change in cash levels - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/3537/3498/cash-dashboard.jpg)


(Graphic: Airline firms' current ratios - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/3538/3499/CE-dashboard.jpg)


(Graphic: Airline firms' net debt-to-EBITDA ratios - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/3540/3501/Netdebttoebitda.jpg)


(Graphic: Cash on hand by region - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/3579/3540/cash%20on%20days%20by%20region.jpg)


(Graphic: Airline firms' debt-to-equity ratios - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/3539/3500/De-dashboard.jpg)


(Graphic: Airline market cap - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/13/3588/3549/airline%20market%20cap.jpg)




(Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Additional Reporting by Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Tom Hogue)