European airlines count the cost

BELGIUM. The Brussels-based Association of European Airlines has reported heavy traffic loses in the first week of conflict in Iraq.

The Iraqi conflict began in the early hours of 20 March, so in effect the data for 17 to 23 March includes four days of war. Compared to the same week in the previous year, international passenger traffic was down -12.3%. Within Europe, the decline was -14.6%, on the North Atlantic -10.2% and on Asian routes -12.4%. On routes to the Middle East the decrease was a massive -42.2%.

AEA secretary general Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus commented: “Our industry is facing the worst crisis in its history. We are not seeking any relief for any hardships connected with the economic downturn, nor the unresolved September 11 difficulties. It is more important than ever that airlines are not prevented by the “˜use it or lose it’ slot rule from making much-needed capacity adjustments.”

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