| GEO Business|
| Airline industry to lose $9bn this year|
| Updated at: 1752 PST, Monday, June 08, 2009|
KUALA LUMPUR: Global airlines called on Monday for concerted action to prevent another runaway surge in oil prices as the International Air Transport Association nearly doubled its forecast of industry losses to $9 billion in 2009.
The head of the Geneva-based airline lobby lambasted "greedy speculation" in oil markets and accused governments of squandering money raised from aviation while carriers suffer from still slumping demand.
"This is the most difficult situation the industry has faced," IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani told the aviation body's annual meeting in the Malaysian capital.
"I am a realist. I don't see facts to support optimism."
However, John Leahy, commercial director at European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, said that while 2009 would be tough, plans by United Airlines to order as many as 150 new planes from Airbus or rival Boeing Co showed the market was starting to turn.
"Cancellations are not as much of an issue as deferrals. I don't think we'll have that many more cancellations," he said in an interview.