Airlines may report combined losses of about $5.2 billion this year, almost $3 billion higher than forecast in June, as economies slow and fuel costs erode earnings, the International Air Transport Assn. said Wednesday.
The net loss will fall short of the $6.1-billion worst-case-scenario the industry body envisaged in the last forecast because of a recent drop in oil prices, association Chief Executive Giovanni Bisignani said. Traffic growth will be lower than predicted as an economic slowdown spreads, he said.
The association raised the annual loss estimate for a fifth time in 12 months after passenger growth slumped to a five-year low in July and the number of carriers grounding planes or filing for bankruptcy protection this year passed two dozen. The industry has lost more than $36 billion since 2001.