Private jet firm GlobeAir sees 30% jump in bookings due to coronavirus

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VIENNA (March 11): Private jet operator GlobeAir has seen a nearly 30% jump in bookings since the coronavirus started spreading widely in Italy and elsewhere in Europe and international airlines cut back flights, the Austria-based company said on Wednesday.

"We are registering a 27% year-on-year increase in bookings over the past three weeks alone," said chief executive Bernhard Fragner.

New bookings are coming in from all over Europe, with a major focus on London, Paris, Switzerland and France's Côte d’Azur, GlobeAir said.

The virus epidemic has hit the global airline industry hard, with international bookings to Europe plunging nearly 80%.

It could wipe as much as US$113 billion off airlines' revenues this year, according to industry body International Air Transport Association, and has already seen British regional carrier Flybe collapse and Lufthansa halving its capacity.

There was a massive increase in new business and individual customers who normally travel business class and now use GlobeAir services to travel safely and avoid crowds of people, said the company, which only operates on demand.

The jet operator reported revenue of €27 million last year and is certified to depart and land at nearly 1,000 destinations in Europe, according to its website.

It has suspended flights to and from Italy due to the virus outbreak there, Europe's largest.