European financial crisis could accelerate airlines failures

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Car Rental News - 13/10/2008


Air France-KLM threw a lavish bash to celebrate its 75th birthday last week in Paris.

Europe’s largest airline, since Air France and KLM merged four years ago, put on a spectacular party in Paris that was reminiscent of the excesses of the 1930s, and suited the powerhouse industry giant that not only has become the largest carrier in the world by revenue, but is also expected to be one of the few in Europe to make it through the financial crisis and resulting failures that are anticipated in the coming months.

The gala was well-attended by high-ranking politicians, and air hostesses in vintage uniforms circulated through the crowd of guests during the festivities. It was held under the gigantic glass dome of the city’s Grand Palais, and would have cost the carrier an enormous amount of money had suppliers not agreed to pay for most of the outlay.

The contrast between the lavish celebration and the worsening global financial crisis couldn’t have been sharper, in a week when it would have been safer to invest in an air carrier than in a bank, and at a time when the demise of more carriers in Europe was becoming imminent.

After many months of financial difficulties caused by the high price of jet fuel, the credit crunch and growing fears of a recession throughout Europe, the airline industry in the region is becoming more clearly defined by those that will survive and those that will fail in the near term.

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