Steep decline in first and business class sales push European airlines into red

European airlines are expected to post combined losses of around US$ 1,2 billion this year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted today, as a fall in the number of first-class and business-class passengers is likely to push European airlines into the red. IATA said that in July, on the lucrative North Atlantic routes, first-class and business-class travel, known as premium travel, was 2.4% down on the same time last year. It added that within Europe in July 2012 premium travel was down 3.5%.

IATA’s forecast for Europe will intensify UK airlines’ call for a reduction or scrapping of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax which has increased steadily since its introduction in 1994.

Speaking in Singapore today, IATA director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, it is an uphill struggle with high taxes, onerous regulation and insufficient infrastructure. All of this stunts industry growth to the detriment of the world economy.”

Brussels Airlines, Business Class