I think we’ve reached the point where we’re all kidding ourselves if we think airlines are going to pull out of the current recession unscathed. February airline revenue numbers are out (from ARC, which handles travel agency transactions), and they’re ugly. Revenue collected from fares (in other words, airfares minus taxes & fees) was down more than 28% over last year. International fare revenues were down 30% over last year. And remember – these represent forward bookings. Most of this hasn’t even shown up in airline financials yet.
To put this in a bit of perspective:
– Last February was a great month, so the huge decline perhaps isn’t as bad as it looks on first glance (but it’s not good).
– After 9/11, airfare revenues dropped 43%.
It could be worse. But not much worse.