The global air transport market saw further growth of volumes in 2013. According to IATA, the total number of passengers carried in 2013 increased by 5.1% y-o-y to 3.1 billion. The global market has therefore grown by about a third over the past seven years, representing an annual increment of 1 billion passengers, driven by growth of the global economy, increasing population mobility and the introduction by operators of new business models.
According to IATA, airline industry revenues in 2013 totalled USD 708 billion, up 4.3% on 2012. As in past years the bulk of revenues (80%) came from the passenger segment. Cargo accounted for just 8.4%, compared with 11.5% in 2007, due mainly due to a slowdown of global economic growth.
Airline costs rose by 3% y-o-y in 2013 to USD 686 billion. Fuel still accounted for a major part of airline costs (31% in 2013). However, the world’s leading carriers have learned to live with high prices for fuel, adjusting their business processes accordingly. In particular, the load factor reached a record high of 79.6% in 2014, up by nearly 9 percentage points from 2003, when the share of fuel costs was only 14%.
IATA forecasts net profit for the global airline industry in 2013 at USD 12.9 billion, which will be one of the best results in the last 10 years.
Industry development was heterogeneous across regions in 2013, as a variety of development scenarios played out. The European air transport market entered a new stage of significant change as growth began to slow. The European market, one of the largest in the world, grew by 3.8% in 2013 according to IATA, well below the global average, and the region accounted for 13% of global net profit in the industry. Poor performance by European airlines reflects the unfavourable economic situation in the European Union. Another important trend in Europe in 2013 was intensification of competition from players based elsewhere, including acquisition of European airline assets by foreign companies (Korean Air, Etihad Airways).
Airline groups made increasing use of low-cost carriers on regional routes in 2013, particularly on the European market and in Asia-Pacific countries.
Advances in technology continued to play an important role in the industry in 2013, and the year saw the emergence of new families of aircraft. The long-range wide-body Airbus A350 XWB, which is designed to replace the A330-A340 family, made its maiden flight and the first of these new aircraft are expected to enter service in late 2014. Short-term problems with the world’s other main new civil aerospace project — the Boeing 787 — drew much attention during 2013.Top