International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani has qualified actions needed to address the depressed state of the global airline business as "a matter of survival". He was speaking at a press conference at Hanoi.
Bisignani sounded the alarm bells in light of data that showed international passenger growth for August grinded to 1.3 per cent, slower than the "disappointing" 1.9 percent in July.
Passenger load factors in August fell to 79.2 per cent, down from the 81 per cent seen in August last year, as capacity growth outpaced demand.
International freight traffic dropped for the third month running, with a 2.7 per cent decline, after posting declines of 1.9 per cent in July and 0.8 per cent in June. Passenger traffic grew at a rate of 5.4 per cent during the first half of the year.
Bisignani said that the contrast between the first half of the year and the last two months is stark, with the slowdown being so sudden that airlines we not able to adjust capacity quickly enough.
He said that while the drop in oil prices is a welcome relief on the cost side, fuel remains 30 per cent higher than a year ago, and with traffic growth still declining, the aviation industry is still heading for a $5.2 billion loss this year.
"The industry crisis is deepening and no region is immune," he added, saying that "urgent measures are needed. From taxation to charges and operational efficiencies, all areas impacting the business must be examined for ways to reduce costs and drive efficiencies. It's a matter of survival."