Inside Story - Airlines struggle to cut costs - 20 August 09

Al Jazeera English
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The airline industry prepares for a bumpy, turbulent ride.

With fewer passengers and rising fuel costs, many airlines are reporting huge losses and revenue reductions.

The latest to join the growing list is Qantas, Australia's biggest airline, suffering its first loss and experiencing the biggest drop in passenger numbers in six years.

The plunge in demand is attributed to the global recession that started late last year and the spread of H1N1 has resulted in even fewer travellers.

Struggling to reduce losses, Qantas has now embarked on a major cost-cutting programme, as is Singapore Airlines which is expected to post its first loss in years.

But will the various cost-cutting measures rise passenger demand? What does it really take for the airline industry to rebound? And how long would a recovery take?

Inside Story presenter Soheil Rahman is joined by Brian Pearce, a chief economist at the International Air Transport Association, Seth Kaplan, the owner and chief analyst of Airline Weekly, and David Bentley, partner at Big Pond Aviation.

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