September 15, 2009

Airlines say losses look worse

A leading airline association in Paris said airline losses in 2009 would reach $11 billion with customer demand for flights slack.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 airlines, increased the loss forecast from June by $2 billion and said airlines would not quite pull out of their tailspin in 2010 although losses would improve next year to $3.8 billion.

As airlines continue to adjust to the global recession with reduced flight schedules, industry revenues are expected to drop 15 percent to $455 billion this year, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The global economic storm may be abating, but airlines have not yet found a safe harbor, said Giovanni Bisignani, the association's chief executive officer.

The crisis continues, he said.

In the latest hardcore adjustment for the industry, Japan Airlines said it would cut 6,800 jobs and step up efforts to secure emergency funds with a tie-in to a foreign airline.

The airline association said the Asia-Pacific region would recover faster than others due to less consumer debt in the region. Middle East airlines are already forging a comeback, the association said, trimming the forecast for losses to $500 million from the $1.5 billion that it predicted in June.