IATA has shared the results of its quarterly Airline Business Confidence Survey of airline CFOs and Cargo Managers, revealing somewhat tempered expectations of profitability and growth, despite continuing cost advantages.
Here are the highlights:
Profitability was unchanged in Q3 2016 compared to the same period a year ago
Industry heads expect very little change in profits over the next 12 months, consistent with signs that the industry profitability cycle may have peaked
Modest moderation in passenger growth seen during most of this year to date, and in line with an improvement in conditions for air cargo since early-2016.
Expectations for volume growth over the year ahead remain positive for both the passenger and cargo businesses
The majority of respondents reported an annual decrease in operating costs in Q3 2016, helped in some cases by the recovery of currencies against the US dollar.
Given that oil and jet fuel prices have trended slowly higher since bottoming-out in early-2016, most respondents expect input costs to increase over the next 12 months
Outlook for input costs contrasts with expectations for yields and points to a more challenging profitability environment.
Due to strong competition and the “subdued economic backdrop”, over 90% of respondents expect passenger yields to remain unchanged or to fall further in the year ahead.
Airline employment activity increased for the seventh consecutive quarter in Q3 2016. But respondents were more cautious about expectations for employment over the next 12 months than they have been in recent surveys.
42% of respondents reported an increase in profits and 42% reported a decrease