The turmoil on financial markets is undermining businesses and hitting demand.
ABTA head of development Andy Cooper described the mood at the association’s convention as “downbeat” and said: “The situation is unnerving.”
Shares in BA fell to their lowest in five years even before the stock-market collapse after the carrier reported an 8.6% fall in business passengers in September. Economy traffic was down 4%.
A BA spokesman said: “Forward bookings are being affected by the anxiety and uncertain outlook.”
Both Ryanair and EasyJet announced 20% rises in passenger numbers for September, in line with increased capacity, but nether gave details of revenue.
Industry leaders hope the combination of government support for banks and reduced interest rates will restore order, and welcomed a fall in the oil price below $90 a barrel.
However, previous measures have failed to halt the decline and economists warn recession is inevitable. The International Monetary Fund this week declared the financial crisis the worst since the 1930s.