All signs lead to a solid start to the year, says IATA December report

All signs lead to a solid start to the year, says IATA December report

GENEVA — IATA’s December report of the Airlines Financial Monitor shows that the industry-wide EBIT profit margin remained broadly unchanged in Q3 relative to a year ago, at a robust 14.7% of revenues.

All regions posted double-digit operating margins in the quarter, led by European carriers at 19.7%. In a sign that industry profitability is now stabilizing from the weaker first half of last year, every region except North America registered a year-on-year increase in operating margin.

Industry-wide passenger yields are currently broadly unchanged from where they were a year ago. Against a backdrop of robust global economic growth and rising input costs, IATA forecasts yields to rise modestly in 2018.

In the period November-December 2017, industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 8.0% year-on year, the fastest rate in five months. Global passenger traffic has risen in the latest two months, and is carrying solid momentum into 2018.

IATA expects another year of above-trend passenger growth this year as a whole, albeit slightly slower than in 2017, owing to less stimulation to demand from lower airfares.

Industry-wide available seat kilometres (ASKs) increased by 6.3% year-on-year in November, with capacity trending upwards at a broadly constant rate over the course of 2017 (slightly slower than that of demand).

The number of available seats in the global airline fleet rose by 0.6% month-on-month in November, which lifted the year-on-year growth rate to 5.5%. 12 more aircraft were delivered in November-December than were delivered in the same period a year ago (152 vs. 140).

Lastly, the passenger load factor posted a record high for the month of November (80.2%, 1.2 percentage points higher than November 2016). In fact, with aggregate capacity expanding at a slower rate than demand, the SA load factor rose above 82% for the first time on record.