The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted on Monday that the profits of airlines around the world will double this year, amid a sharp increase in demand despite rising ticket prices, but companies warn that the situation remains fragile.
The union announced on the sidelines of its general assembly in Istanbul that its forecast for airline profits indicates that it will reach $ 9.8 billion, up from $ 4.7 billion in 2022.
The union also halved its 2022 loss estimate to $3.6 billion.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted that about 4.35 billion passengers will travel in 2023, almost equal to the record of 2019.4 billion passengers set in 54.
IATA Director-General Willie Walsh said: "The airlines' financial performance is better than expected and this strong profitability is based on several positive developments."
Air traffic has benefited in particular from China's reopening of its borders.
This summer will be better than in the past for air travel, but challenges remain in areas such as air traffic control and strikes in France.
Projected revenue levels for 2023 are also close to pre-pandemic levels, reaching $803 billion compared to $838 billion in 2019.
The global aviation sector is close to recovery after 3 years of stumbling due to the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, and the closure of borders between countries, in addition to the record rise in fuel prices left by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
However, IATA warned that profits would not be spread across all geographies this year, but would be concentrated in North America, Europe and the Middle East, where airline accumulated profits would reach $11.5 billion, $5.1 billion and $<> billion, respectively.
In contrast, airlines in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa region are expected to post losses of $6.9 billion, $1.4 billion and $500 million, respectively.
In 2023, according to IATA, companies will spend about $ 215 billion to buy fuel, equivalent to 28% of their expenses.
Willie Walsh noted that airline profits would only average $2.25 per passenger, and acknowledged that "many companies will find it difficult to balance their accounts and secure sustainable returns on investment" for their shareholders.
Etihad, which brings together about 300 airlines, representing 83 percent of the world's passenger traffic, said the sector's profitability remained "fragile" and could be affected by a number of factors.
The number of airline passengers collapsed in 2020 – the first year of the outbreak of the Corona pandemic – by 60% to 1.8 billion passengers, then rose slightly in 2021 to 2.3 billion, returning in 2022 to 74% of its pre-crisis level, recording about 3.3 billion passengers, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The sector's losses amounted to $ 42 billion in 2021, and reached $ 137.7 billion in 2020.