In 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the global airline industry is estimated to suffer another 51.8 billion U.S. dollars in net profit losses, after reporting 137.7 billion U.S. dollars in net losses in 2020.
Recent changes in worldwide aviation since 2000s
Growth of middle-class and global interconnectedness facilitated the expansion of aviation market throughout recent decades. From 2006 to 2019, global air traffic passenger demand increased continuously, except for 2009 because of the global financial crisis in 2008. Expansion of the aviation market transformed the aviation economy gradually. For instance, there is a market power shift between full service and other carriers (FSOCs) and low-cost carriers (LCCs) globally. Since LCCs offer almost the same main service for a comparatively cheaper price, LCCs operated flights are on high demand by customers. LCCs’ market share in Europe was roughly 45 percent of the total aviation market in 2020. The net profit of commercial airlines worldwide from 2006 to 2019 increased somewhat continuously, reaching 26.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. The continuity of growth was disturbed during and after the 2008 global financial crisis. From 2008 to 2009, commercial airlines incurred a net loss because of the economic shock.
COVID-19 and the aviation industry
While contemplating the potential occurrence of next economic shocks, the global economy and society got hit by an immensely strong health shock, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Since the possibility of a global health shock was neglected by the political authorities, most countries were not ready to absorb health and economic shocks simultaneously. Therefore, COVID-19 hit the global economy and society profoundly. The loss for the North American aviation reached roughly 35.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Nonetheless, before the COVID-19 outbreak over 16 billion U.S. dollars of market profit was forecasted for the North American commercial aviation for 2020. As a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, passenger load factor (PLF) declined between January 2020 to April 2020 remarkably, down to 27.5 percent from 81.1 percent on international routes. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, many countries started to take it under control through sufficiently strong efforts and policies. Therefore, the weekly flight frequency continues to improve slightly globally since the end of April 2020.
Net profit and loss of airlines worldwide from 2004 to 2022
(in billion U.S. dollars)
* This figure was taken from a previous release which was released prior to the coronavirus outbreak and can be accessed here.
Figures prior to 2016 were taken from previous reports. 2021 figure is estimated.
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IATA. (October 5, 2021). Net profit and loss of airlines worldwide from 2004 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved July 06, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/268330/profit-of-airlines-worldwide/
IATA. "Net profit and loss of airlines worldwide from 2004 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)." Chart. October 5, 2021. Statista. Accessed July 06, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/268330/profit-of-airlines-worldwide/
IATA. (2021). Net profit and loss of airlines worldwide from 2004 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 06, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/268330/profit-of-airlines-worldwide/
IATA. "Net Profit and Loss of Airlines Worldwide from 2004 to 2022 (in Billion U.S. Dollars)." Statista, Statista Inc., 5 Oct 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/268330/profit-of-airlines-worldwide/
IATA, Net profit and loss of airlines worldwide from 2004 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/268330/profit-of-airlines-worldwide/ (last visited July 06, 2022)