GENEVA, March 2 The world's airlines lost up to
$8 billion last year, far more than the $5 billion previously
estimated, a global industry body said on Monday.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said
airline losses exceeded $4 billion in the fourth quarter of
2008, a period in which the global credit, financial and
economic crises became acute.
"Airlines are now losing money at the operating level," IATA
said in its latest Airlines Financial Health Monitor.
While falling oil prices have provided some respite in past
months, many airlines committed themselves to paying higher
prices in the last months of 2008 because of hedging, IATA said.
The Geneva-based body had previously estimated industry-wide
losses at $5 billion in 2008.
Airline stock prices fell nearly 30 percent in the month of
February and are more than 40 percent lower since the start of
2009, according to IATA, which represents 230 airlines including
British Airways BAY.L, Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) and United
(Reporting by Laura MacInnis; editing by Simon Jessop)