Global Airline Losses of $220 Billion Since Pandemic But N.A. Recovering

The airline industry has seen almost USD $220 billion in net losses since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the World Airline Group Finance Rankings published 01DEC from aviation analytics firm Cirium.

According to the report, revenues for the world's airline groups "more than halved" in 2020 and ended 2021 still down by over 40 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

Worldwide airline revenues for the first half of 2022 land at around USD $500 billion, which Cirium says is lower than they were 15 years ago.

Signs of Recovery

Jeremy Bowen, CEO at Cirium says there are some signs of recovery. " However, if we assume that there are no further shocks to the industry, there is the possibility that the industry may break even in the second half of the year, led by US and European groups," Bowen added.

Demand has been recovering, with global revenues up by 70 per cent for the first six months of 2022, bringing the total to within 20 per cent of 2019 levels.

Cirium’s World Airline Group Finance Rankings for the first half of 2022 shows the strongest recovery from North American carriers.

Early results for the SEP quarter show the six largest U.S. carriers are seeing "record revenues" and an overall net profit for the first nine months of the year, putting the industry "on course to post a modest profit for the year if trends continue."

According to the report, major European airline groups such as Lufthansa also showed strong recovery in first half revenues following the lifting of travel restrictions in early 2022.

Traffic within Western Europe has been around 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels since the middle of the year, raising revenues and returning the largest groups to profitability in the SEP quarter, reports Cirium.

In contrast, Cirium says the Asia-Pacific region has struggled, citing China’s continued COVID-19 lockdowns. Chinese airlines posted a 35 per decline in revenue and a net loss of nearly USD $10 billion in the first half of 2022, higher than either of the previous two years.


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