The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Middle East and North Africa (MENA) airlines to focus on an agenda of efficiency and expanding commercial freedoms.
"The oil price is falling, but what we save in fuel, we lose in revenue. This industry will lose US$5.2 billion this year. Even the Middle East is not immune. The region's carriers posted 18.1% traffic growth in 2007. This year, August growth plummeted to 4.3%," said IATA Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, in a speech at the Annual General Meeting of the Arab Air Carriers Association (AACO) in Tunis.
"Profits of Middle East carriers will fall from US$300 million in 2007 to US$200 million this year. Only a handful of carriers will be profitable, while the majority bleed red ink. The region's fleet is set to double to 1,300 aircraft over the next decade as we enter a period of global economic uncertainty. The challenge of matching capacity to demand will be difficult," said Bisignani, according to an IATA press release.
Bisignani urged the region to adopt an agenda focused on efficiency-Simplifying the
Business, fuel and infrastructure-and expanding commercial freedoms.