Global airlines lose $3 billion in Q1 2009: IATA

The global airline industry lost over $3 billion in the first quarter of 2009 as a result of slump in passenger traffic and decline in cargo movements due to continuing economic downturn, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

The quarterly results of the 60 plus airlines are in line with IATA's June forecast of 15 per cent drop in revenues with about $9 billion loss for the whole year, which is almost double its previous March estimate of $4.7 billion. In contrast, the airlines made a profit of $405 million during the same period in 2008. (See: IATA says airline industry to lose $9 billion in 2009)

"This deterioration was before the recent rise in fuel prices and was mostly due to the fall in revenues, as a sharp fall in yields added to the impact of weak travel and freight volumes," IATA said.

The Geneva-based organisation representing 230 airlines covers 93 per cent of global air traffic spread over 6 global regions.

European airlines registered the biggest losses totaling $2.08 billion from January to March, followed by Asia-Pacific which recorded losses of $822 million and North American carriers posted losses to the tune of $574 million.

The Middle East region earned a modest profit of $291 million compared to the whopping $1.69 billion profit made during the first quarter last year, on year-on-year..