September 15: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted that airline losses could total $11 billion in 2009, $2 billion worse than previously projected. Weak yields and rising fuel costs are to blame, it says.
“The bottom line of this crisis is larger than the impact of 9/11,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer. “This is not a short-term shock. Lost revenue will take years to recover. Conserving cash, careful capacity management and cutting costs are the keys to survival. The global economic storm may be abating, but airlines have not yet found safe harbour. The crisis continues. Revenues are not likely to return to 2008 levels until 2012 at the earliest.”
Bisignani says governments need to play their part in encouraging recovery: “European governments are fixated on using environment as an excuse to squeeze more taxes out of the industry. We don’t want bailouts. But we need governments to look more seriously at this sector by investing in efficient infrastructure; replacing the proliferation of environmental taxes with a global solution for the environment and giving airlines commercial freedoms to merge.”