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Airlines To Lose $6 Billion 2002

AMR's American Airlines, British Airways and other airlines may have...

AMR's American Airlines, British Airways and other airlines may have a total loss of as much as $6 billion this year on weak economic growth and a fall in demand following September 11th, an industry group has said.

The industry had been ?ill-prepared to successfully weather even a fairly mild, regular economic cycle,? said Pierre Jeanniot, director general of the International Air Transport Association.

This year's pretax loss on international routes may be the second largest after last year's $12 billion, he said. Demand for air travel fell by as much as a third as people avoided flying after the terrorist attacks. Traffic has yet to return to earlier levels. IATA has estimated last year's loss wiped out all the profit ever earned by the airline industry.

?What would lift the earnings potential in particular is the recovering volume of business travellers and airfreight,'' said Jan Lee, who helps manage more than $1 billion at HVB AG in Singapore. ?This is the time to look at airlines with a global plan, because you need to lower costs.?