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8 June 2009

IATA sees airlines losing $9bn in 2009

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Airline losses worldwide may total $9 billion in 2009, nearly double a previous forecast, as an outbreak of swine flu compounds the effects of the recession, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was quoted by Bloomberg News a s saying

The industry’s main trade group said sales may fall 15 percent to $448 billion this year from $528 billion in 2008.

“This is the most difficult situation that the industry has faced,” IATA Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Bisignani said. “Our future depends on a drastic reshaping by partners, governments and industry,” IATA said in a statement distributed at its annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur Sunday.

The recession has hammered premium-class traffic as business travelers switch to cheaper seats, forcing British Airways Plc and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd to losses.

China Eastern Airlines Corp and Shanghai Airlines Co, plan to combine to cut competition in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market and help both carriers return to profit.

Passenger traffic may fall by 8 percent and cargo demand will slump 17 percent, IATA said. The group was forecasting an industry loss of about $4.7 billion for 2009 as recently as March 24.

Carriers in North America may report a loss of $1 billion for the year, IATA said, reversing a prediction of a profit of $100 million for the region’s airlines. Other regions’ airlines will also be unprofitable, led by losses of $3.3 billion in the Asia-Pacific region and $1.8 billion in Europe, IATA said.

The Geneva- and Montreal-based association was forecasting losses of $1.7 billion for Asian carriers and $1 billion for European airlines.



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