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International Airline Traffic’s Record-Breaking Fall & the Effect on Travelers

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International airline traffic fallsInternational air traffic took a nose-dive in 2009 with airlines experiencing the most severe drop in passenger demand in the history of modern aviation.

A worldwide recession likely played a key part in that decline, but will the industry be able to turn the corner as economies improve? And what will these continued struggles mean for air travelers?

Keep reading for more details on what 2010 has in store for fliers.

According to a report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the passenger demand for international flights plunged by 3.5 percent in 2009 with the average plane flying at only three-quarters capacity.

“In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO in a public statement.

Learn more in our Airlines & Airports section.

Plane on the groundIATA, a global trade organization that represents about 230 international airlines, projects that airlines will lose $5.6 billion in 2010.

But there was a silver lining to IATA’s report. Bisignani seems to believe that the worst is behind the airline industry.

The $5.6 billion in projected losses for next year is actually about half of what the airlines lost in 2009. The industry also saw improvements in November and December, even after adjusting for seasonal demands. Carriers are particularly hopeful that the return of business fliers will help them close the gap and inch back toward profitability.

But until then, airlines will likely continue their penny-pinching ways—carefully controlling costs, meticulously monitoring capacity and demand, and of course, finding new ways to hold passengers up by their ankles to search for loose change.

By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.

Related Links: IATA, USA Today,

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