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S&P expects 20%-30% drop in 2020 air passenger volume amid coronavirus crisis

S&P Global Ratings expects the novel coronavirus pandemic to cause a year-over-year decline of 20%-30% in global air passenger traffic in 2020, putting pressure on the ratings of airports.

"For the new coronavirus, we expect a more protracted recovery compared with the quick rebound seen after the 2003 SARS epidemic," said S&P Global Ratings, which expects a full recovery in global air passenger traffic in 2022-2023.

The global airline industry has been severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak as governments around the world implement travel bans and other stringent measures to restrict movement and contain the spread of the virus.

"Even though airports' credit quality tends to be significantly more resilient than airlines', we do foresee rating pressure," S&P Global Ratings said.

The rating agency forecasts a 15%-20% drop in passenger numbers in 2021 followed by a decline of 10% in 2022.