Demand for Airline Travel Lowest Since 2003

Citing decreased consumer confidence and high oil prices, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that worldwide demand for air travel in June grew at its slowest pace since 2003.

According to the IATA’s international traffic data for June, the 3.8 percent growth was the slowest since the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO, said he expected the situation to get worse, saying losses this year could reach $6.1 billion, wiping out the $5.6 billion that airlines made in 2007.

Demand growth for North American airlines dropped to 4.4 percent, down from the 8.2 percent growth recorded in May. U.S. domestic traffic contracted nearly 4 percent. Bisignani said urgent action is needed, suggesting that airports and air navigation service providers come to the table with efficiencies that deliver cost savings.

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