Estimated airline losses in the fourth quarter were $4 billion, significantly higher than first expected and leading to a total 2008 loss of $8 billion, according to a Monday report from the International Air Transport Association.
Just two weeks ago, the trade group forecast a $5 loss for the full year. “Unlike earlier in the year, airlines are now losing money at the operating level,” IATA said in a statement.
Airlines also parked 73 older aircraft in the recent quarter as they cut capacity to meet falling demand.
“Load factors have been falling sharply since September, as airlines have found demand falling away faster than they have been able to cut capacity,” the group said. “In January average load factors were 2.8% points below the level of the previous year.”