Airline companies lost up to 8.0 billion dollars (6.32 billion euros) last year, with half of the losses incurred in the fourth quarter, industry association IATA said.
The International Air Transport Association hiked its 2008 loss estimate from a December forecast of five billion dollars to 8.0 billion dollars amid "large losses now being reported by Asian and European airlines."
Airlines' losses in the fourth quarter of 2008 "at 4.0 billion dollars were larger than expected, because of recession and fuel hedging losses, pointing to industry net losses of up to 8.0 billion dollars for 2008," said IATA in its latest Airlines Financial Health Monitor report.
The report said airlines have been cutting capacity to match shrinking demand, but the slowdown had outstripped airlines' reductions.
In January, capacity was down two percent compared to the same month a year ago but passenger travel slumped 5.6 percent on the same 12-month comparison.
IATA in late February maintained a forecast of a 2.5-billion-dollar loss for the industry in 2009.