March traffic drops 11%
Airline revenues could fall by as much as 20%, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said today (April 28).
March suffered an 11% decline in demand year-on-year as the economic crisis continues to affect international travel.
The year-on-year figures show capacity down 4.4% as scheduled airlines around the world struggle to maintain passenger load factor, which fell to 72.1% from 77.5%.
"Airlines cannot adjust capacity to match demand. Load factors have dipped sharply from last year. All of this is hitting revenues hard," IATA's director general and ceo Giovanni Bisignani said.
Asia Pacific suffered the worst regional declines with a 14.5% fall in passenger demand outpacing a 9.3% cut in capacity.
European airlines saw demand fall by 11.6% "where confidence has been dented by unemployment in key markets such as Germany and Spain".
North American carriers saw a decline in international passenger demand of 13.4%, again blamed on rising unemployment.
While African airlines showed the greatest fall demand of 15.6%, they matched capacity with an aggressive cut of 15.1% resulting in an above average load factor of 72.7%.
Mr Bisignani said the timing of the recent swine flu outbreak "could not be worse given all of the other economic problems airlines are facing."
He added: "It is still too early to judge what the impact of Swine Flu will have on the bottom line. But it is sure that anything that shakes the confidence of passengers has a negative impact on the business.