The aftermath of September 11th has been dramatic for the aviation industry, with an estimated 200,000 losses.
The September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in which passenger aircraft were used, increased the normal levels of anxiety felt by air travellers, resulting in a strong decline in ticket sales. In some cases, these are 20% down on the same period last year.
The fragile balance in the accounts of airline companies has tipped the scales for many companies, Swiss Air and Sabena being two examples of many airlines which have been grounded through lack of cash.
This crisis translates into a forecast 200,000 job cuts in the airline industry by year end, 2001. Given that the figures for employment in this sector world-wide are 4 million persons, this means 5% of the total. The global financial losses in the industry are estimated at 10 billion USD.
The end result is also a knock-on effect in the tourism and leisure industry, which in turn will affect profits of hotel chains, resorts, tour operators and travel agencies. However, for the end consumer the outcome could be positive, as companies reduce margins to offer a more attractive bottom line so as to attract custom.
As usual, it will be a case of survival of the fittest. Those with the resources to survive will do so and those without, will go under.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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