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Bigger than predicted $2.5bn - IATA
World airline losses for 2009 are likely to be higher than the $2.5bn originally predicted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Giovanni Bisignani, the airline cartel's director general and ceo, said that the prediction, based on a 3% fall in passenger demand and a 5% drop in cargo, was "now looking very optimistic."
He said a revised IATA forecast would be issued next week.
World airlines lost $8bn in 2008 which was again far higher than the original IATA prediction of $5bn.
Passenger figures have been dropping for five consecutive months and the organisation reported a global 16.7% drop in premium traffic for January compared wit the same month in 2008 earlier this week.
IATA said in its Premium Traffic Monitor that the fall in Europe was 22.2% with some premium fares in the continent dropping by 16%.
Mr Bisignani said while economy travel demand has also slumped in response to the global financial crisis, the decline in premium traffic had been much faster.
This was hitting airlines much more as many carriers drew their profits from that sector.
"Business classes are empty. The airlines make money in the front and recover the cost on economy, and when the business class disappears, it's a big problem," he said.