Asian airlines see turbulence in 2009

6 Oct 2008

Has market uncertainty made you think of downgrading on future flights?

You’re probably not the only one making such plans, and this snowballing attitude is what is prompting Asian carriers (and their counterparts elsewhere) to be cautious about growth prospects in 2009.

“The biggest challenges right now are weakening passenger demand, particularly for First and Business Class travel and continuing uncertainty about the global economic outlook, “ said Andrew Herdman, director-general of the AAPA (Association of Asia-Pacific Carriers).

Herdman, who oversees the 17-carrier body, said the members are “bracing themselves for a period of continued turbulence, hopefully without losing sight of their long-term strategic goals and future growth opportunities”. He predicted the next 12 to 18 months would be extremely difficult with some airlines unable to survive the crisis.

For now, airlines serving the region were doing their best, he said, to make adjustments to both capacity and route networks, as well as working with industry partners to achieve operational efficiencies.

Fuel prices may have fallen back but are still 25 percent higher than last year.

AAPA members collectively carry about 290 million passengers, about one-fifth of global passenger traffic.

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Margie T Logarta

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