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IAG says can't forecast 2020 profit due to coronavirus

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - British Airways-owner IAG said it was unable to give profit guidance for 2020 because of the uncertainty linked to coronavirus which has already knocked travel demand.

The airline group said that flight cancellations as a result of the virus meant capacity growth for this year would be lower, and it expected to cut flights on its short-haul European network in the coming days.

For 2019, IAG reported a 5.7% drop in operating profit to 3.285 billion euros, slightly ahead of a downgraded forecast of 3.27 billion euros it gave in September when it said a pilots strike would result in a 215 million euros hit.

Rattled by the coronavirus, airlines such as Germany's Lufthansa and Amsterdam-based KLM have rushed to cut costs in recent days. (Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)