Asian airlines to boom


AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
BIZ BRIEFS
PARIS: Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region will grow strongly in the next few years but air transport in Europe is likely to stagnate, the outgoing head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Friday. IATA president Giovanni Bisignani told the La Tribune newspaper that “Europe is by far the biggest problem for the sector.” Bisignani blamed European governments for being more interested in raising taxes from the industry than in supporting growth and providing infrastructure, and also warned that the rising cost of fuel was a disaster.

Airbus cost-cutting

PARIS: Airbus has made even bigger savings than expected when it launched cuts in the midst of crisis in 2007 and remains competitive despite the rise of the euro, the company which makes airliners said on Friday. Senior director Fabrice Bregier told the Les Echos newspaper that the targets have been well exceeded, and that the so-called Power 8 programme had enabled the company to save 2.5 billion euros, which means as much extra profit, and 10 billion euros in cash. The company expected to employ an extra 3,000 people this year. Airbus, a subsidiary of the European aerospace giant EADS, had intended to save 2.2 billion euros and 5.0 billion euros in cash.

Free floating ruble

MINSK: Belarus hopes to introduce a single floating exchange rate next month after it receives an emergency bailout loan from Russia which could help overcome its fiscal crisis, a top official said on Friday. The announcement was made as Belarus pursues painful negotiations with Russia over a multi-billion dollar loan. This could result in the former Soviet republic cede control of its main natural gas company. “We are relying on foreign borrowing,” National Bank of Belarus currency controls chief Anatoly Moroz said. “This issue will be resolved by May. And then we will have a single exchange rate,” Moroz said. Belarus has struggled through a deepening fiscal crisis which began last year when Russia raised the price it charges for energy.

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