Airlines raise profit outlook for 2013

The global airline industry has forecast a modest improvement in global net profits for 2013, crediting a backdrop of rising optimism about the world’s economy particularly in the United States and Europe.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), whose 240 member airlines carry 84 per cent of all passengers and cargo, upgraded its financial outlook on Wednesday to expected profits of $10.6 billion this year, mainly based on more passengers and cargo.

IATA said the industry’s overall revenue in 2013 is expected to rise to $671 billion from $637 billion last year, while costs will go up to $649 billion from $623 billion. In December, the global trade group had forecast global net profits of $8.4 billion in 2013, led by a recovery in US airlines mainly from cost cuts and restructuring addressing weak economic growth. That forecast had anticipated that expected overall revenue would rise to $659 billion and costs would go up to $640 billion in 2013.

Asia Pacific airlines are now expected to deliver the biggest contribution to the overall picture, with $4.2 billion in net profits forecast for this year, followed by North American airlines contributing an expected $3.6 billion in net profits.

That is a reversal from December, when IATA said it expected North American airlines to do best in 2013 with a combined net profit of $3.4 billion, ahead of the $3.2 billion forecast for Asia Pacific airlines.

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