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European airlines facing bankruptcy

Aug. 2, 2008 at 1:33 PM

LONDON, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Dozens of airlines across Europe could face post-summer bankruptcies due to rising fuels costs and consumer travel cutbacks, industry officials warn.

They say at least 50 airlines will face significant financial trouble after the summer travel season is over and the quieter winter months approach, The Times of London reported Saturday.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, said the outlook for the industry has become decidedly grim, telling reporters, "We will see a number of failures as there are quite a lot of weak carriers that will not survive. We are in the worst trading environment the industry has ever faced."

Douglas McNeil of Blue Oar investments, said in a report quoted by The Times among the airlines under threat includes names such as SAS (Scandinavia), Alitalia (Italy), Olympic (Greece), Malev (Hungarian) and Lot (Poland).

Meanwhile, smaller British airlines such as BMI, Flybe and Monarch also would be faced with very rough finances, the report said.

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