IATA Downgrades 2011 Airline Profit Forecast

 The International Air Transport Association further downgraded its 2011 industry profit forecast last week, from the $8.6 billion forecast in March to $4 billion. "Natural disasters in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, plus the sharp rise in oil prices have slashed industry profit expectations," said IATA director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani in a statement. "That we are making any money at all in a year with this combination of unprecedented shocks is a result of a very fragile balance." The revised profit forecast is 54 percent less than the previous one, and would be a 78 percent drop from the $18 billion net profit the industry posted in 2010. Fuel cost is the biggest factor in the revised forecast, according to the association, which cited an estimated 2011 average of $110 per barrel.