Too Many aeroplanes, Not Enough Passengers

Well looks like that seat next to you will be empty.

Guardian: The airline industry’s woes deepened today as it posted its biggest drop in passenger numbers in five years..

Aviation has been a harbinger of the global downturn after record oil prices forced more then 30 airlines into bankruptcy this year. The latest traffic figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate a global downturn is turning the screw.

Global traffic fell 2.9% last month in the most significant deterioration since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003, according to IATA. Giovanni Bisignani, the IATA chief executive, said the “alarmingly fast-paced and widespread” fall in demand could result in the industry posting a deeper loss than the $5.2bn (£3.3bn) deficit expected for this year.

…IATA said the passenger load factor, or the proportion of seats sold per flight, had fallen from 78.8% to 74.8% – confirming some analysts’ fears that the industry remains bloated with too many aeroplanes catering for a dwindling passenger base.

IATA recently predicted a two-year recession in the airline industry, with carriers expected to report a combined loss of $9.3bn in 2008-09. According to its September figures, traffic fell by nearly 7% in the Asia/Pacific region compared with the same month last year and declined 0.5% in Europe, with the world’s largest market, north America, falling by 0.9%.

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