Thursday, 14 December, 2017

The airline industry is on course for record profit in 2018

IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac speaks during the Global Media Day in Geneva Global passenger traffic up 7.2pc in Oct: IATA
Jeannie Matthews | 07 December, 2017, 02:02

"As expected, the recent severe weather in the Americas region had only a temporary impact on the healthy travel demand we have seen this year, and we remain on course for another year of above-trend growth", said Iata CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

In good news for airline investors, the industry's return on capital is expected to exceed its cost of capital for a fourth year in a row next year.

That's ahead of 7.7 percent in Brazil, 6.1 percent in Russian Federation and 5.3 percent in the USA.

Overall, revenues are expected to rise to $824 billion, up from 2017 revenues of $754 billion.

Continent-wide, capacity rose 3.4%, and load factor jumped 2.7 percentage points to 70.9%, Iata said.

The heightened expectations are a result of strong demand, efficiency, and reduced interest payments the IATA said.

"Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability", he said while highlighting the challenges of rising fuel costs and well as labour and infrastructure expenses.

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Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018.

In the Asia-Pacific region, including India, airlines are expected to register profits of $9 billion in 2018, which would be marginally higher than $ 8.3 billion projected for this year.

Airlines and airports could also use drones to help inspect aircraft and runways or even bird-shaped drones to chase off wildlife, thus improving safety and reducing cost. Further, Juniac said the forecast of record net profit of $38.4 billion for the next year is still $10 billion shy of the profit that Apple announced for 2016.

"On the other hand, the airline capacity growth in the other Asean markets is more aggressive, namely Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei".

"The industry also faces longer-term challenges. To continue to deliver on our full potential, governments need to raise their game-implementing global standards on security, finding a reasonable level of taxation, delivering smarter regulation and building the cost-efficient infrastructure to accommodate growing demand", de Juniac said. Turning to environmental concerns, IATA, which said the inflation-adjusted cost of flying had halved for consumers since 1996, said aviation was committed to managing its carbon footprint with a near-term goal of capping emissions through carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

In response to the tougher conditions regional carriers have cut costs and unprofitable routes, with Dubai carrier Emirates reporting a 111 per cent increase in profit to $214m in the April 1 to September 30 period after a 75 per cent slump in the first half of its previous fiscal year.

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