By Rob Morris
Middle Eastern carriers amass $291m profit, modest gain as other regions struggle amid downturn.
Middle East airlines posted a modest profit during this year’s opening quarter as other regions struggling with the financial crisis reported sharp declines.
The region’s carriers amassed a $291m profit between January and March, although the figure is way below the $1.69bn registered during the corresponding period in 2008.
Outside the Middle East, carriers suffered a $3bn drop in revenue due to falling demand, airline body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
“This deterioration was before the recent rise in fuel prices and was due mostly to the fall in revenues, as a sharp fall in yields added to the impact of weak travel and freight volumes,” IATA said on Tuesday.
It added the drop is in line with IATA forecasts, which estimate a $9bn deficit for 2009.
The biggest drop was registered in Europe where airlines posted losses of $2.08bn, while Asia Pacific carriers reported an $822m shortfall. North America was also hit by the downturn, with airlines suffering a $574m drop in revenue.
Like the Middle East, Latin American was another region to buck the general profit decline during Q1. It was also the only area to report improved revenues after generating $139m compared to $120m the previous year.
February and March were the worst months for most regions, with passenger traffic declines reaching double figures before picking up slightly in April.