Global airlines more than doubled their 2023 industry profit forecast on Monday from $4.7 billion to $9.8 billion, spurred by a rise in travel demand as consumers continue to book flights in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Revenue levels suggest that the travel industry is rapidly recovering from its pandemic slump, with expected revenue of $803 billion for 2023. The industry’s total revenue in 2019 was $838 billion.
“The pandemic years are behind us and borders are open as normal,” International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General Willie Walsh stated at the association’s annual meeting. “A lot of people not just have to travel, but want to travel. And they will continue to do so through this year,” he went on to state in a separate interview.
Despite the positive annual outlook, the current profit margin of 1.2% is still too low to safeguard the industry’s long-term financial stability, Walsh admitted. The industry’s profitability continues to be limited by challenges including rising airport charges and supply chain bottlenecks.