GENEVA — IATA has updated its outlook for the airline industry’s 2022 financial performance, as the pace of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis speeds up exponentially.
Industry losses are expected to reduce to -US$9.7 billion (improved from the October 2021 forecast for an $11.6 billion loss) for a net loss margin of -1.2%. That is a marked improvement from losses of $137.7 billion (-36.0% net margin) in 2020 and $42.1 billion (-8.3% net margin) in 2021, as IATA notes.
Industry-wide profitability in 2023 appears within reach, with North America already expected to deliver an $8.8 billion profit in 2022.
IATA says efficiency gains and improving yields are helping airlines to reduce losses even with rising labour and fuel costs.
Meanwhile industry optimism and commitment to emissions reductions are evident in the expected net delivery of over 1,200 aircraft in 2022.
Strong pent-up demand, the lifting of travel restrictions in most markets, low unemployment in most countries, and expanded personal savings are fuelling a resurgence in demand that will see passenger numbers reach 83% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to IATA’s estimations.
“Airlines are resilient. People are flying in ever greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty. Losses will be cut to $9.7 billion this year and profitability is on the horizon for 2023. 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.