Airlines head for bigger losses



Airlines head for bigger losses
LONDON (BBC News Online) - The world''s airlines are heading for heavier losses than expected this year.
The international airline group, IATA, said its members would lose up to $7bn (£4.4bn) on their international operations.
North American carriers would be worst hit.
In September IATA estimated that its members would lose between $3bn and $7bn, but it has now narrowed that figure to between $5bn and $7bn.
Problems within the US
The group''s chief economist Peter Morris told an industry conference that the latest data from its members had painted a more pessimistic picture.
William Gaillard, IATA''s director of communications, told BBC News Online that the bulk of the losses would be borne by US airlines.
In the US it''s slightly worse than what we thought previously, at the same time the situation in Asia-Pacific and Europe is better.
He said that, domestically, US airlines would lose a further $8bn this year.
And the US carriers were unlikely to make a profit before 2004.
This week United Airlines said it was cutting a further 9,000 jobs to cut costs and try to stave off bankruptcy.
Better shape
Mr Gaillard said that European and Asian airlines had come out of the aviation crisis caused by a downturn in the industry and the effects of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
He said that, since the threat of war with Iraq had receded, the industry looked in better shape.
But at the same time we''re not really seeing any signs that the US market is picking up, he added.