March 24, 2009

Airlines look at $5B loss for 2009

The International Air Transport Association said Tuesday the industry was headed toward a loss of $5 billion in 2009, due to the economic downturn.

The industry-wide crisis would resize and reshape the industry, IATA Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Bisignani said in a conference call, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The effects of the slowdown would go so far as to slow deliveries of new planes from Boeing and Airbus, the report said.

The IATA said airline industry revenues would fall 12 percent, or $62 billion, in 2009 with the global recession having twice the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In particular, airlines are being hit with sharp contraction in first-class and business-class ticket sales, the most lucrative end of the business.

The IATA said North American airlines would likely report $100 million in profits in 2009, while Asia-Pacific airlines would see a loss of $1.7 billion.

With credit hard to find, airlines are expected to downsize Boeing and Airbus jet orders to 700 through 2011, half the amount on order for 2009 deliveries, the Times said.