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No-frills airlines provide economic boost

Increasing passenger volumes for June and July 2003 may prompt the recovery of many international airport operators, according to S&P, the ratings agency. And it is the cheap airlines that are behind the up-turn.

Factors such as ailing economies, the recent war in Iraq, the outbreak of SARS, and the disruptive effect of industrial action, have all contributed to a gloomy outlook for airlines and airport operators in recent times.

"The recovery is being aided by the activities of 'no-frills' airlines in Europe, and, to a lesser extent, in Canada and Australasia," comments Maria Lemos, a credit analyst at S&P. "Nevertheless, the pace of global economic recovery and the financial health of the airlines will be key to renewed sustainable growth in the airport sector."

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