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Airline passengers, revenues to hit records in 2024

By AFP

June 3, 2024 03:22 PM


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Airlines will fly nearly five billion passengers in 2024 and revenues will soar close to $1 trillion, both record highs, trade body IATA said on Monday as the industry roars back after the pandemic.

The International Air Transport Association also said it expected the world's airlines to post $30 billion in net earnings this year, up from its previous estimate of $25.7 billion.

However, total expenses are also expected to hit a record high this year, climbing 9.4 percent to $936 billion, IATA announced at its annual general meeting in Dubai.

The expected $30 billion profit "is a great achievement considering the recent deep pandemic losses", IATA director general Willie Walsh told the body's annual general meeting in Dubai.

"Without a doubt, aviation is vital to the ambitions and prosperity of individuals and economies. Strengthening airline profitability and growing financial resilience is important," he added.

The Covid 19 pandemic plunged the air industry into crisis, grounding fleets and costing thousands of jobs. IATA put the losses at $183 billion between 2020 and 2022.

But despite the bounce-back to record passengers and revenues of $996 billion expected this year, some clouds remain for the industry.

As well as the record expenses, return on invested capital is estimated at 5.7 percent in 2024, about 3.4 percentage points below the average cost of capital.

"An aggregate return above the cost of capital... continues to elude the global airline industry," IATA said.

Airlines are also facing a sharp rise in costs due to shortages of parts and labour and challenges related to climate change, including flooded runways and forest fires.

Six weeks ago Dubai's airport, the world's busiest for international passengers, was closed by severe flooding that left standing water on the runway and forced the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights.

The extreme rainfall in the desert United Arab Emirates was probably exacerbated by manmade global warming, according to an international grouping of scientists that examines extreme weather events.

Some experts also raised the alarm about climate change after two major incidents of in-flight turbulence in recent days, one of which killed a British passenger travelling on Singapore Airlines.

IATA, which groups more than 300 airlines representing 83 percent of global traffic, said it would hold next year's AGM in New Delhi, India, which is witnessing a boom including Air India's record order for 470 aircraft last year.

Airlines' operating profits are expected to rise nearly 15 percent to $59.9 billion, although net profits will grow more slowly at 11.3 percent, IATA added.


AFP


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