Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bad News (Cont'd)

This just keeps getting worse, doesn't it. Some air-travel items from this morning:

---There has been a sharp deterioration in international premium traffic, on which major airlines have basically bet the farm in recent years. According to the International Air Transport Association, international first-class and business-class traffic fell 8 percent in September, and the decline is likely to have worsened in October, though the figures aren't available yet. For years, that segment of the market had been growing monthly. Largely because of robust international premium travel, major U.S. airlines have been diverting capacity to international routes.

---In a trend with implications for hotels and big-city retailers as well as airlines, there has been a 15 percent decline in the last month in online searches for flights to the U.S. from the U.K., according to the European search engine Skyscanner. "In previous years, there has been an increase in flight searches to the USA at this time of the year" as travelers from the UK came to the U.S. to do holiday shopping or to book leisure trips to ski resorts. Not only has the worldwide recession affected this, but so has the weakening pound, which no longer provides major buying power here.

---Air France/KLM said quarterly profit is down 44 percent largely due to weakening business travel demand internationally.

And it's only 9 a.m. here in Arizona where I'm holed up in the desert working on a book ... about air travel. Title: "High Anxiety," natch.


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