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Air ticket sales plunge, swine flu & economy to blame

Airlines are struggling to book tickets for flights as the economic crisis escalates and swine flu grips the globe.

Figures released by International Air Transport Association (IATA), which includes Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand among its 93 members, show that global demand fell an average 9.3 percent compared with the same month last year.

Ticket sales across the Asia Pacific region fell more than 14 percent in May, with passenger loads averaging just 71.2 percent on all flights.

The director general of IATA, Giovanni Bisignani, said airlines were under severe pressure and were in survival mode, with cost cutting and conserving cash the priorities.

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