March 12, 2020 / 8:14 PM / in 17 days

UPDATE 1-NZ's Auckland International Airport cuts 2020 profit view on COVID-19 impact

(Adds details on outlook, background)

March 13 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s Auckland International Airport Ltd on Friday cut its full-year profit outlook due to the coronavirus-led plunge in demand and flagged “significant reduction” in flights and passengers.

The country’s biggest airport operator revised down its 2020 underlying profit after tax to between NZ$210 million and NZ$235 million ($129.1 million-$144.4 million) from the prior range of NZ$260 million and NZ$270 million announced last month.

Airlines around the world are experiencing weak demand due to COVID-19. An industry body last week estimated that passenger revenue for airlines could drop by as much as $113 billion this year.

“We’ve seen an immediate impact on business travel, and we are now anticipating a rapid downturn in leisure travel in the coming months, as cancellations flow through and demand for bookings continues to soften,” the company said in a statement.

It said total passengers going through its terminals fell 8.6% in February and international passengers for the first 10 days of March slumped 18% compared with the corresponding period.

Earlier this week, Air New Zealand’s, the country’s flag carrier, withdrew its 2020 earnings outlook due to increased uncertainty over the duration and scale of the outbreak.

$1 = 1.6273 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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