Fuel costs and crisis to damage air travel, airlines warn

Chairman of merged British Airways-Iberia group forecasts gloom

As if 2011 isn’t bad enough, airlines in Europe should expect another challenging year in 2012, according to the chairman of International Airlines Group – the merged British Airways-Iberia group. Rising fuel costs and poor demand resulting from the deepening economic crisis are the main reasons, he said at a conference in Madrid yesterday. “Demand is weak, profitability is falling, it will be another difficult year,” Antonio Vazquez said at an air industry event in Madrid. His comments come in the wake of IATA’s revised forecasts that Europe’s airlines’ profits will fall from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $300 million in 2012.
Iberia and British Airways are suffering on short- and medium-haul routes due to competition from low-cost carriers as well as higher fuel prices.
[pictured: BA 747 takes off at Heathrow; courtesy oneworld]

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