The airline industry must be excited to see 2009 coming to a close. It was a year of route cuts, perk cuts and abuse from passengers over all kinds of sacrifices in the cabin … and a genuine commitment to fees for extra bags. The global financial crisis triggered in September 2008 hit the travel industry with extra severity, forcing airlines, famous for not being able to generate easy profits anyway, to scramble to keep their heads above water. But, at least there’s next year … not really.
While nobody with even shred of sense expected 2010 to be the year the airline industry went wheels up, the latest prediction from the International Air Transport Association is pretty grim. IATA expects the sector to lose $5.6 billion next year, thanks to higher fuel costs and revenue declines because of lower fares. This is worse than the $3.8 billion it originally forecasted. The number of passengers filling seats, IATA believes, will increase, but it won’t be enough to make a difference.
There’s good news in here. Continued brutal competition will keep fares low, so if you missed your chance to take that dream trip this year, you’ll have another bite at the apple in 2010. For the airlines … well, there isn’t any good news. But, is there ever?
[Photo by emrank | counting days | via Flickr]