GENEVA, December 12, 2013 (AFP) – Airlines are expected to post record profits in 2014, the International Air Transport Association said Thursday, citing sliding oil prices and mergers for the sector’s improving outlook. European airlines, meanwhile, are seen as making major progress, with profits expected to hit $3.2 billion in 2014, up from $1.7 billion this year, outstripping the $400 million of 2012 and $300 million of 2011. “The industry’s fortunes are improving,” IATA chief Tony Tyler said at the umbrella body’s Geneva base.
“Today we are raising our global profit outlook for this year to $12.9 billion (9.4 billion euros). And we see that increasing to $19.7 billion next year,” he told reporters.
The figure for 2013 was $1.2 billion better than a forecast issued in September, and $3.3 billion over the previous prediction for 2014, he noted.
“This is being led primarily by a slight fall in the high price of oil and the positive impact that mergers and joint ventures are having, generating better connectivity for passenger and driving efficiency,” Tyler said.
If the 2014 forecast turned out to be accurate, it would be the sector’s highest-ever profit figure, he underlined.
But Tyler also stru