Global air transport under pressure

Global air transport under pressureNicosia, Apr 23 : The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced a revised outlook for the global air transport industry with losses of 4.7 billion dollars in 2009.

This forecast is significantly worse than IATA''s December forecast of a 2.5 billion dollars loss in 2009, reflecting the rapid deterioration of global economic conditions.

IATA expects industry revenue to fall by 12 per cent to 467 billion dollars.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA''s CEO, said: "The state of the airline industry today is grim. Demand has deteriorated much more rapidly with the economic slowdown than could have been anticipated even a few months ago. Our loss forecast for 2009 is now 4.7 billion dollars. Combined with an industry debt of 170 billion dollars, the pressure on the industry balance sheet is extreme."

Passenger traffic is expected to contract by 5.7 per cent over the year and revenue will further suffer as a result of a sharper fall in premium traffic. Moreover, cargo demand is expected to decline by 13 per cent.

IATA points out that falling fuel prices are helping to curb even larger losses. The industry''s fuel bill is expected to drop 25 per cent of operating costs, compared with 32 per cent in 2008.

Regional differences remain significant and the Middle East is expected to be the only region with a demand growth in 2009, at 1.2 per cent.

However, this could be overshadowed by the impact of a 3.8 per cent increase in capacity. (ANI)