Global airlines slash profit forecast 21% on protectionism fears

SEOUL, June 2 (Reuters) - Global airlines slashed a key industry profit forecast by 21% on Sunday amid concerns over an expanding trade war and higher oil prices.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents about 290 carriers or more than 80 percent of global air traffic, said the industry is expected to post a $28 billion profit in 2019, down from a December forecast of $35.5 billion.

“Airlines will still turn a profit this year, but there is no easy money to be made,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said at the group’s annual meeting in Seoul. “Creeping protectionist or isolationist political agendas are on the rise,” he added.

Reporting by Jamie Freed, Editing by Tim Hepher