IATA Halves 2010 Airline Loss Forecast

The aviation industry outlook grew a little less gloomy this week, as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday cut its 2010 loss forecast in half. Predicting stronger than anticipated demand and sustained capacity discipline, the forecast keeps global airlines in the red this year, but by an aggregate $2.8 billion, not IATA's previously projected $5.6 billion.

Industrywide passenger demand last year fell by 2.9 percent but this year would resume growth by 5.6 percent, according to the IATA forecast.

Recovery, however, remains uneven by region. Year-over-year passenger demand in January grew 11 percent in Latin America, 6.5 percent in Asia/Pacific, 3.1 percent in Europe and 2.1 percent in North America.

"We are seeing a definite two-speed industry," IATA director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement. "Asia and Latin America are driving the recovery. The weakest international markets are North Atlantic and intra-Europe which have continuously contracted since mid-2008."

North American and European carriers are expected to be the loss leaders this year with IATA anticipating $2.2 billion and $1.8 losses, respectively. IATA has similarly recalibrated its 2009 loss estimate to $9.4 billion from $11 billion.

—Northstar Travel Media