Soaring High

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Major airlines face greater losses than last year because of the ongoing surge in oil prices, the main industry association warned Monday as it forecast total losses of 5.5 billion dollars in 2005. Major airlines face greater losses than last year because of the ongoing surge in oil prices, the main industry association warned Monday as it forecast total losses of 5.5 billion dollars in 2005. “The high price of fuel is robbing our profitability,” Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association, said in a statement.

Total losses in the airline industry had reached 4.8 billion dollars in 2004 as the fuel bill rose from 44 billion dollars a year earlier to 63 billion dollars, according to IATA.

“If oil averages at 43 dollars per barrel for 2005, the bill will be 76 billion. And that would leave us with an industry loss of 5.5 billion dollars for 2005 and over 40 billion dollars for the period 2001-2005,” said Bisignani.

Just three months ago IATA had been counting on a return to profit for airlines, predicting income of 1.2 billion dollars if oil prices averaged 38 dollars a barrel for Brent crude in 2005.

On Monday, prices of Brent crude reac