Friday, March 20, 2009
Panic Time for Airlines
[Left: 1939 World War II poster that was famous throughout Britain; Right: Tee-shirt for sale in London now.]
What a mess.
Passenger revenue for domestic airlines fell 19 percent in February (compared with February 2008), the Air Transport Association said today. It was the fourth consecutive month in which revenue has fallen from the prior year.
The number of passengers was off 12 percent "with declines extending beyond the mainland United States to transatlantic, transpacific and Latin markets," the airline trade group said.
"The sharp decline in spending by passengers and shippers demonstrates how the global recession is taking an increasing toll on the traveling public, as well as on time-sensitive cargo shipments," said ATA Chief Economist John Heimlich. "The worldwide slowdown is forcing further capacity reductions, despite the meaningful drop in fuel prices."
From the ATA statement: "Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. On a daily basis, U.S. airlines operate nearly 30,000 flights in 77 countries using more than 6,000 aircraft to carry an average of two million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo."