Air Transport World

IATA officials optimistic about '87 airline performance. (International Air Transport Association)

IATA officials optimistic about '87 airline performance

According to senior executives of the International Air Transport Association here, the current year will be a much-improved one for the airline industry compared with 1986, with traffic up 9% and capacity up 7%, but there are a number of major problems that will not go away.

These include the environment, terrorism, migration trends, the impact of the disease AIDS, and the premature phasing out in Europe of aircraft that do not meet Chapter Three noise limitations.

Reviewing the current year Dr. Eddie Spry, senior director industry automation and finance services, said that although the association's traffic forecasts were so far turning out well "in terms of money, we are still not sure.' He added, "The joker in the pack is fuel costs which, in the first three or four months of the year, started to turn up.

"How far this is going to go, I do not know, but most people I talk to seem to expect a hardening of fuel costs. If that happens, the improvements we get could be wiped out.' Spry said that traffic on the North Atlantic went up 26% in April compared with April 1985 (the month when fears over terrorism and Chernobyl hit), and were 12% up for the first four months of this year.

Gunter Eser, IATA director general, said that last year could have been a good year, but for terrorism and the declining dollar. "This year looks very promising. If it continues as in the first five months, we will have a good year, and we can expect a profit, but investment (for purchasing new equipment) will remain a problem. The number of passengers carried is growing between 9% and 10%, but the yield is not. A lot of carriers last year had less income, although they carried more passengers.'

He listed the broad issues faced by the industry as:

The environment--"Chernobyl was the tip of a huge iceberg. …

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