"It has a 9/11-like feel": Southwest bookings down sharply on coronavirus concerns

Southwest Airlines doesn’t serve Asia or Europe, but that doesn’t mean the nation’s largest domestic carrier is immune from coronavirus travel fallout.

The airline has seen a “very noticeable, precipitous decline in bookings” in the past week, a decline that continues daily, CEO Gary Kelly said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday.

“It’s really all of a sudden,” he said, noting that Southwest’s ticket sales were solid through February, before the coronavirus spread broadened and intensified. .

The drop-off in new bookings plus an increase in cancellations was so dramatic Southwest warned investors about it Thursday, saying its first quarter revenue will be down an estimated $200 million to $300 million from previous expectations.