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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has narrowed down its estimate for global airlines’ losses in 2022 to $9.7 billion, predicting a possible return to profitability by 2023 as efficiency gains and improving yield offset higher labour and fuel costs, according to its annual estimates.
The estimates were released Monday at the annual general meeting of the global industry body. The two-day event is being held in Doha, Qatar. Airlines lost $137.7 billion in 2020.
“Industry-wide profitability in 2023 appears within reach with North America already expected to deliver an $8.8 billion profit in 2022,” said a statement from IATA.
“Airlines are resilient. People are flying in ever greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty,” said Wille Walsh, Director General, IATA.
“It is a time for optimism, even if there are still challenges on costs, particularly fuel, and some lingering restrictions in a few key markets,” he added. Over 1,200 aircraft will likely be delivered this year.
“Strong pent-up demand, the lifting of travel restrictions in most markets, low unemployment in most countries, and expanded personal savings are fueling a resurgence in demand that will see passenger numbers reach 83% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022,” said a statement.
It added that economic challenges and cargo volumes are expected to set a record high of 68.4 million tonnes in 2022.