The global airline industry's net profit is expected to rise substantially in 2018 due to strong demand, efficiency and reduced interest payments, a global airline association said on Tuesday.
Iata chief Alexandre de Juniac said: "These are good times for the global air transport industry". The inventory-to-sales ratio in the USA is looking sideways, thereby indicating that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly-which often gives air cargo a boost-has ended.
According to a forecast by IATA, global industry's net profit is likely to touch $38.4 billion in 2018 from the $34.5 billion expected net profit in 2017. Overall revenues are seen rising 9.4% y-o-y to US$824 billion in 2018.
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Aside Africa, virtually all the continent's airlines from Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America and Latin America recorded appreciable traffic growth.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has cautioned governments across the world about privatising airports to fund growth, a statement that assumes significance as India plans to upgrade and build airports through private sector participation. "It's still, however, a tough business and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses", he told a media briefing here today.
Jet fuel prices are expected to rise even more quickly to $73.8 per barrel (up 12.5 per cent on $65.6 in 2017).
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All regions are expected to post improved profits year-on-year in 2018 with the North American carriers leading the pack at US$16.4 billion, which is almost half of the collective bottom line. Cargo volume is expected to grow 4.5% y-o-y to 62.5 million tonnes. Outbound worldwide traffic continues to uphold growth movement in the sector, but inbound traffic to North America is reportedly being deterred by additional security measures inherent with traveling to the US, IATA noted.
"Asia-Pacific is leading the way in terms of growth and is clearly the centre of gravity in terms of where the industry is going", said IATA chief economist Brian Pearce, adding that a bigger market size, however, may not necessarily correlate to better profitability. This will push up the average load factor to a record 81.4 per cent, helping to drive a 3 per cent improvement in yields. While momentum is easing after a period of restocking, the development of e-commerce should mean that growth rates remain ahead of the pace of expansion in world trade. This was down from $1.1bn in 2016.
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