Decline in air traffic in 2009

Last year, 2009, saw the biggest decline in air traffic since the war according to the International Air Transport Association, IATA.

Overall passenger traffic fell by 3.5% and freight by 10.1% when compared to 2007, although there was a slight improvement in December 2009.

African airlines suffered the biggest drop in passenger traffic at 6.8% with Asia-Pacific and North American carriers suffering 1 5.8% decline in demand and European carriers down 5%.

Middle Eastern carriers, by contrast, saw an 11.3% rise in demand and Latin America a modest 0.3% increase.

IATA estimates that, collectively, airlines lost $11 billion last year and they could lose a further $5.6 billion during 2010.

Airlines struggle to fill the planes, even with discounted fares. The fare reductions just eat into airline profits and further attempts to attract customers by means of lower prices will simply reduce profits (or increase losses in some cases) even more and one could see more airlines going under. Which might not be a bad thing in the long term.

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