The economic crisis is potentially ruinous for European commercial aviation, according to the heads of several carriers there. The comments were made in a frank conversation with EU Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani.
European airlines, used to five percent growth per annum, have seen freight traffic drop 22 percent, passenger traffic by seven percent and passenger revenue by 12 percent during the first half of 2009. Said Ivan Misetic: "The airlines are used to managing economic disturbances; this is an economic maelstrom," says Ivan Misetic of Croation Airlines, who is also chairman of the Association of European Airlines. Joining him were AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, Willie Walsh of British Airways, Wolfgang Mayrhuber of Lufthansa, Steve Ridgway of Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
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