Brighter skies for Asia-Pacific airlines

Brighter skies for Asia-Pacific airlines

It has been a rough year for Asia-Pacific airlines but next year looks a bit brighter.

A global airline body said on Thursday the carriers can expect falling profits this year after being hardest hit by the sluggish cargo market and operating in an environment where significant injection of capacity has kept yields down.

In its latest forecast on Thursday, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said Asia-Pacific carriers are expected to post a collective profit of US$3.2 billion (S$4billion) this year.

This will be the third straight year of declining earnings.

The good news is that things should improve next year with a US$4.1 billion profit projection.

A big challenge for Asian carriers, the largest players in global cargo markets with a market share of nearly 40 per cent, is poor demand and falling yields.

Globally, airlines are expected to fare better. The latest estimate is for a collective profit of US$12.9 billion this year. The projection for next year is even better at US$19.7 billion.

The numbers are an improvement from three months ago.

In September, Iata which speaks for more than 230 global carriers had an US$11.7 billion profit forecast for the year. Before that in June, the earnings estimate was US$12.7 billion.

The recent upward revision reflects lower jet fuel prices over the forecast period, as well as improvements to the industry's structure and efficiency, said Iata director-general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler.

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