New Delhi: Global airline industry is expected to lose more than an estimated $5.2 billion this year as international passenger traffic has substantially declined despite a fall in oil prices by half.
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region, including India and China, experienced a sharp fall of 6.8% in September compared with the same month last year.
The latest figures were released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at the Freedom Summit in Istanbul, which concluded yesterday, with the global airline body asking governments to take urgent steps to help the industry and do away with archaic rules.
“The deterioration in traffic is alarmingly fast-paced and widespread. We have not seen such a decline in passenger traffic since SARS in 2003,” said IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani at the Summit.
“Even the good news that the oil price has fallen to half its July peak is not enough to offset the impact of the drop in demand. At this rate, losses may be even deeper than our than our forecast of $5.2 billion,” he said, adding that airlines in all major regions reported shrinking of passenger traffic.
On the cargo front, the Asia-Pacific region’s carriers reported a 10.6% decline, the “most alarming drop” experienced by the largest players in the market, the IATA said in its latest report.
Up to August, the drop in international passenger traffic was isolated to Asia-Pacific carriers. “The economies of the region’s two major growth markets- China and India- slowed and Japan saw industrial production drop five per cent, the IATA figures showed.