The International Air Transport Association has cut its forecasts for 2011 global airline profits because of the recent surge in crude oil prices.
Geneva-based IATA said on Wednesday that it had downgraded its forecast for industry net profits to $8.6 billion from the $9.1 billion it had estimated in December. That's a sharp 46 percent drop on the $16 billion earned by the industry in 2010.
IATA, which represents more than 240 airlines around the world, expects industry revenues of $594 billion.
Political unrest in Libya and the Middle East has pushed oil over $100 a barrel in recent weeks _ significantly higher than the $84 a barrel that IATA used to make its December forecast. Fuel accounts for almost 40 percent of an airline's operating costs.