Family Airlines Caught in the COVID-19 Thunderstorm
March 31, 2020
Across the world, air traffic has declined substantially as borders close and families isolate at home. This sudden and unexpected disruption has had a brutal impact on global airlines, many of whom are family-owned businesses.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific is in a similar position. Controlled by the Swire family through the Swire Group, the airline is expecting a substantial loss in the first half of the year and flagged more cuts in flights due to the “unprecedented challenge” from the coronavirus outbreak that has forced it to ground more than half its fleet.
Korea’s Cho family (Korea Air) and India’s Wadias (Go Air) have been tackling similar issues. In March, the Wadia Group announced it had suspended all international flights until April 15 and offered employees a 30-day leave without pay. Korea Air, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a bitter family feud between brother-sister duo Cho Hyun-ah and Cho Won-tae over the airline’s chairmanship.
Wealthy family airlines across the world are bracing for a historic decline in air travel and an unclear recovery