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Bisignani speaks ahead of upcoming forecast
The airline industry could suffer losses "substantially worse" than previous predictions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said today (June 4).
Speaking in Kuala Lumpur today, ceo Giovanni Bisignani said the association's latest industry forecast, due out June 8, will forecast losses exceeding the $4.7bn previously predicted.
"The economy isn't moving forward despite some optimism in the financial market," Mr Bisignani told reporters. "The industry is still in a difficult situation. Premium traffic hasn't improved."
The global economic downturn has had a severe effect on some major network carriers, particularly on the important premium travel segment, forcing many to announce capacity and job cuts.
Passengers who normally fly in first or business class are opting for cheaper economy seats or switching rival budget airlines.
BA yesterday reported a 17.2% drop in premium traffic, a lucrative source of revenue for network carriers which rely on customers paying more for complete service.
Iberia, currently in merger talks with BA, yesterday warned of its first annual loss for 13 years. The Spanish carrier also relies heavily on premium traffic which industry-wide has suffered a 20% decline in the first quarter year-on-year.
Europe's other two network carriers, Lufthansa and Air France KLM, have also suffered losses or predicted a bleak year ahead.
Mr Bisignani was in Kuala Lumpur where IATA's annual general meeting is due to be held next week.