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Do you want the good news or the bad news?

The airline industry is in desperate need of a confidence boost.

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With the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revising its predicted losses for the global air transport industry to US$4.7 billion in 2009, we are all in need of some good news.

But, as you know, on a global scale, it is in short supply. However the US President did offer a ray of light towards the end of March, when he said that he had seen signs of economic recovery.

Closer to home, the news is not quite as bad. IATA predicts that the Middle East will be the only region with passenger demand growth in 2009, but the worry is, this will be overshadowed by the impact of a 3.8% increase in capacity.

North America, Europe, Latin America and African carriers are all making capacity cuts, although it is worth noting that these will not keep pace with the predicted drop in demand.

The general opinion from analysts appears to be that the worst has already happened and the industry can look forward to a modest bounce in figures later in the year. However, more needs to be done to boost consumer confidence, as without it, recovery will take longer.

It seems that the region’s airlines are glossing over the fact that passenger demand has weakened, by releasing details of ongoing capacity increases. But clearly this is detrimental to the health of the industry as a whole.

Analysts are warning that as long as capacity growth continues during the economic crisis then passenger figures for 2009/10 will continue to look bleak.

Surely it is time to nurture some small signs of recovery and help generate some good news? Passengers need to have their faith restored in what is, fundamentally, a healthy and robust industry and only then will they will begin to fly once more.

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