Major airlines face up to likely winter blues

Three of the world's top airlines faced up to winter blues on Friday (October 30). With bookings hammered by global lockdowns and travel restrictions, British Airways-owner IAG said it would drive down its cost base. New CEO Luis Gallego is sticking to a policy of cutting employee and supplier costs to survive low travel numbers. IAG said it had cut cash operating costs by 54% from original plans to 205 million euros per week - or nearly $240 million - during July-September. It's a move seen as key to the airline surviving during the winter with very low travel. Operating loss for the quarter came to about $2.2 billion. A warning sign about the coming months also came from Air France-KLM. The carrier unveiled a $1.24 billion quarterly loss Friday. And it warned of worse to come as new global lockdowns brought fresh travel curbs. Revenue in the third-quarter fell 67% to just over $2.9 billion. Like IAG, Air France-KLM plans to reduce costs. As part of that it will cut 9,000 full-time positions this year - with 4,500 more to go by 2022. It was no better in Asia for Japan Airlines, either. Japan's second-largest carrier forecast a record operating loss for the year through to March of between $3.2 to $3.6 billion. Its overseas flights have been mostly empty this year and domestic bookings around half what they were last year.