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Demand for travel should return toward end of summer: Stifel managing director |

Demand for travel should return toward end of summer: Stifel managing director

Joseph DeNardi, managing director at Stifel, joins “Squawk Box” by phone to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the airline industry.

U.S. airlines are grappling with the once unthinkable scenario of halting all commercial domestic air travel as concerns about the spread of the coronavirus hurt demand for flights.

It is not certain that the administration will take that action — which would be the first time the U.S. instituted a blanket air travel ban since the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — or whether such a ban would last two weeks, a month or longer. But several airline executives told CNBC they are considering all possibilities. The executives cautioned that such a ban was not imminent.

President Donald Trump, speaking on Saturday, said he is considering potential travel curbs to areas hard hit by the coronavirus, which has infected roughly 170,000 across the world and killed more than 6,500, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., it has spread to roughly 3,800 and killed at least 69, according to Hopkins.

Airlines around the world are racing to preserve cash as demand for flights craters after political leaders turn to increasingly draconian measures that have disrupted daily life in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On Sunday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said “all options remain on the table” when asked at a White House press conference whether the administration is considering a halt of domestic air travel. A day earlier, President Donald Trump said the American public should avoid unnecessary travel. Early Monday, the administration expanded its 30-day ban on most European visitors to Ireland and the U.K., an unprecedented curb on international travel.

The abrupt cuts across airlines would reverberate around the economy. U.S. airlines alone employed some 747,000 people as of the end of January, according to federal data, but as carriers park aircraft and defer orders, manufacturers as large as Boeing and Airbus and their suppliers are now on shakier footing.

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