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- IATA expects 4.7 billion people to travel in 2024, breaking the pre-pandemic record.
- A poll from the global body found one third of travelers are traveling more than before the pandemic.
- Profits are also set to break records, but the director general warned it’s “far too little” to be resilient to shocks.
2024 is set to be a record-breaking year for airline profits and passenger numbers, according to the International Air Transport Association.
IATA said that 4.7 billion people are expected to travel next year, which would be 200 million more than the pre-pandemic high set in 2019.
“People love to travel and that has helped airlines to come roaring back to pre-pandemic levels of connectivity,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.
And according to an IATA poll, one third of travelers say they’re traveling more than they did before the pandemic.
This Thanksgiving also saw the busiest ever day for US passengers, as the Transportation Security Administration said it screened 2.9 million people.
The return to pre-pandemic levels also comes with increased profits. IATA predicts net profits for the airline industry of $25.7 billion next year — a 10% rise on this year.
Although Walsh also cautioned that “industry profits must be put into proper perspective.”
“On average, airlines will retain just $5.45 for every passenger carried,” he said. “That’s about enough to buy a basic grande latte at a London Starbucks. But it is far too little to build a future that is resilient to shocks for a critical global industry.”
And while things are looking up for the industry, the huge impact of the pandemic has been unmistakeable.
“The speed of the recovery has been extraordinary; yet it also appears that the pandemic has cost aviation about four years of growth,” Walsh said.