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World airline industry faces tough 08: IATA PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 February 2008

Agence France-Presse . Geneva

Global air traffic which sparkled last year is set to slow in 2008 amid rising prices and economic uncertainty after a sharp decline in December, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.

December passenger traffic demand rose by 6.7 per cent, down from 9.3 per cent in November, IATA said in a statement. ‘The slower growth for passenger demand in December sets the trend for the coming months,’ IATA chief executive officer Giovanni Bisignani said.

‘Oil prices are higher than ever. Economic uncertainty accompanying the US credit crunch is broadening,’ he added. IATA expects passenger demand growth at 5 per cent in 2008, down from 7.4 per cent in 2007.

The year just ended was ‘the best in recent memory,’ Bisignani said. ‘Strong passenger growth of 7.4 per cent was a key component of the industry’s 5.6 billion dollar profit in 2007 — the first black number since 2000,’ he said.

Average international passenger load factors reached an industry record of 77 per cent in 2007, up from 76 per cent in 2006.

Middle Eastern carriers registered the strongest growth in 2007 with passenger demand up 18.1 per cent, reflecting strong regional economies, the impact of oil wealth, expanded capacity and new routes, IATA said.

Foreigners one-third of Singapore workforce (SC) Agence France-Presse . Singapore Foreigners made up one-third of Singapore’s workforce last year and the unemployment rate eased to a 10-year low in the fourth quarter, the government said Thursday.

Foreign employment rose by a new high of 144,500 last year and as of December there were 900,800 workers from overseas, accounting for 33 per cent of the 2.73 million people employed, the Ministry of Manpower said in a press release.

‘Foreign employment rose by a new high of 144,500 in 2007, enabling the economy to grow beyond the limits of Singapore’s indigenous workforce,’ it said. Singapore’s strong economy has lured overseas workers who fill everything from construction jobs to white collar and service work.

The unemployment rate was 1.6 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in the three months to December, compared with 1.7 per cent in the previous quarter, the ministry said. Preliminary ministry figures showed employment grew by 64,200 in the December quarter, bringing total hiring for 2007 to a record 236,600.

The previous record was 176,000 set in 2006. ‘The strong economy led to another record breaking year for employment creation in 2007,’ the ministry said. Job gains were broadly-based, with the services sector recording the biggest rise of 144,100 for the year, it said.

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