The losses airlines will take time to resolve

Les pertes aériennes prendront du temps à se résorber

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The airlines expect to lose 84,3 billion US $in 2020, for a net profit margin of -20,1 %.

Historical losses early and rapid increase in the debt pose a challenge to a return to profitability in the civil aviation industry, which is not in sight before 2022.

The forecast of the international air transport Association (IATA in English) to be published on Tuesday are testimony to the shock rather brutal of the pandemic and measures restrictions. The airlines expect to lose 84,3 billion US $in 2020, for a net profit margin of -20,1 %. Income will drop by 50 %, to reach $ 419 billion, compared to 838 billion in 2019. In 2021, the losses are expected to decrease to $ 15.8 billion, while revenues will reach 598 billion, stressed the Association, which represents some 290 airlines claiming 82 % of air traffic in the world.


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In comparison, they had lost 31 billion during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

“Financially, the year 2020 will have been the worst in the history of aviation. On average, each day of this year brings losses of 230 million for the industry “, added Alexandre de Juniac, director general and ceo of IATA. “This means that, depending on the expected number of 2.2 billion passengers this year, compared with 4.54 billion reached in 2019, the airline will lose 37,54 $ per passenger. “

The balance sheet, the airline had begun the year 2020 and in good health, a decade of profits that enabled it to maintain debt at a level relatively low of 430 billion, or about half of annual revenues. “The assistance measures essential governments have allowed the airlines to avoid bankruptcy, but they have added $ 120 billion in liabilities, the total debt rising to 550 billion or approximately 92% of anticipated revenues to 2021 “, digit the IATA.

The table industry by 2020 on a slow traffic recovery, this did not prevent him from falling from 54.7 % as compared to 2019. “The number of passengers should be reduced by half, to $ 2.25 billion. Revenues for the passenger segment would be as well to $ 241 billion compared to 612 billion in 2019. “The fall is worse than the decline in demand, which reflects the projected decrease of 18 % returns, the fact that the airlines will try to encourage people to travel by offering the best prices. “The coefficients of occupation of the seats are projected to be 62.7% in average in 2020, from a peak of 82.5 % in 2019.

By 2021, the industry should substantially reduce its losses, to about US $5 for each passenger carried, to bring the net profit margin 2.6 %. “The airlines will be in a mode “recovery”, but the activities will remain well below the levels of 2019. “The IATA estimated that the total number of passengers will rebound to reach the 3,38 billion and that the total income increase of 42% compared to 2020, but remain down 29 % to 2019.

These estimates depend in particular on the operational efficiency in a context of a pandemic, the duration and the depth of the recession and the return of the confidence of travellers. “People are going to want to take the plane again, provided you have confidence in their personal financial situation and the measures taken to ensure the safety of passengers,” says IATA.

“As long as there is not a second wave even more harmful to COVID-19, the worst of this collapse of the traffic is probably behind us,” says Mr de Juniac. “The key to recovery lies in the universal implementation of measures to restart adopted by the Organization of international civil aviation to ensure the safety of passengers and crews. And thanks to the efficient follow-up of contacts, these steps will give governments the confidence necessary to the opening of borders without quarantine measures “, would he.

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