Crisis "broadening" - IATA
Air traffic numbers last month revealed a "continuing deterioration in demand," the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said today (March 26).
The Association said passenger volume for February had fallen sharply by 10.1% compared to the same month in 2008.
A 5.9% capacity reduction, "the most aggressive since the crisis began" said IATA, had failed to compensate for the falling demand.
It said passenger load factors had fallen to 69.9% as a result, down 3.2% year-on-year.
Africa was the worst hit region with a 13.7% fall in traffic. Europe and North America fared only slightly better with declines of 10.1% and 12.0% respectively.
IATA said long haul markets between Europe, the US and Asia had been "particularly hard hit reflecting negative economic sentiment."
It cited Germany as an example of a market "where business confidence had hit new lows."
IATA's director general and ceo Giovanni Bisignani said: "Gloom continues. The sharp drop in February passenger traffic shows the broadening scope of the crisis."
The Middle East was the only region to see an increase in capacity of 0.4%. Capacity was also up 7.3%.
Mr Bisignani said the crisis was not limited to airlines, and efficiency should be a priority for "the entire value chain."
He said airports should follow Singapore Changi and Malaysia's airports in reducing their landing charges by as much as 50%.
Mr Bisignani also called on governments to stimulate the air industry through changes in tax structure and attitudes toward aviation, plus increased commercial freedom to merge and consolidate.
"Governments are spending trillions to bailout the banks and trillions more to stimulate economies. By comparison, our requests to governments are cost-effective and cheap," he said.
"The priority for airlines around the world is survival - conserving cash and adjusting capacity to match demand. This means re-sizing and re-shaping the industry to deal with the $62bn (€46bn) fall in revenues expected this year."
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