The industry will not begin to recover until 2010 at the earliest, according to IATA head Giovanni Bisignani, speaking to journalists across the globe on a conference call all this morning. "This crisis is reshaping and resizing the industry," he says.
Bisignani didn't have good news: industry losses are forecast to reach $4.7 billion in 2009, almost double the $2.5 billion loss it was predicting in December.
This crisis is of a different magnitude in terms of revenue loss compared to the last downturn, the one triggered by the September 2001 terror attacks. After 9/11 industry revenue was hit by 6% in 2002. The new forecast sees revenues diving by 12% or $62 billion this year.
In terms of passenger traffic, IATA is forecasting a drop of 5.7% this year, with cargo dropping by 13%.
Total industry revenues will fall from $530 billion in 2008 to $467 billion this year, which is significantly greater than after 9/11. "The industry is entering into serious intensive care mode," says Bisignani.
Asia is expected to be one of the worst hit areas in 2009 with losses of $1.7 billion.