IATA sees 8 billion loss for 2008Airlines face $8 billion loss for 2008

Fluggesellschaften mit hohen Verlusten<br /> IATA said in its February report on the financial situation that airline losses during the fourth quarter of 2008 were at $4 billion and thus were larger than expected, because of recession and fuel hedging losses, pointing to industry net losses of up to $8 billion for 2008.

Unlike earlier in the year airlines are now losing money at the operating level. Air freight volumes remained extremely weak in January, down 23.2%, and travel is now down 5.6%, the industry body reported. Oil prices appear to have reached a floor around $40 a barrel but the crack spread has now narrowed.

Airlines parked 73 older aircraft in January, raising fuel efficiency and cutting capacity, but as yet not by enough since load factors were down some 3% points and profitability has deteriorated further. In the past 5 months 632 older aircraft (2-3% of the fleet) have been taken out of service, replaced by 441 new aircraft. Fuel efficiency for the fleet could have been improved by 0.5%.

Equity markets fell further during February with airline stocks particularly heavily hit in the US, where the Bloomberg airlines index was down 28% during the month and down 42% since the start of the year.

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