June 5, 2018 / 8:00 AM / 20 days ago

IAG sees air traffic strikes as bigger threat than fuel prices in 2018

SYDNEY, June 5 (Reuters) - The chief executive of British Airways-owner IAG warned that air traffic control strikes were more of a threat to European airlines in 2018 than a rise in fuel prices.

“From a European context, the thing most impacting is ATC (air traffic control) strikes and the ongoing ATC environment which is a mess,” IAG CEO Willie Walsh told the CAPA-Centre for aviation summit in Sydney.

“It’s destroying traffic through Europe.”

Walsh said that every ATC strike in Europe affected millions of passengers and cost airlines tens of millions of pounds.

Global airlines slashed their forecast for industry profits in 2018 on a spike in fuel costs. IATA expects an average oil price of $70 a barrel this year, up from $54.90 last year and its previous prediction of $60.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan, editing by Sarah Young

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