GENEVA: Global airline body IATA raised the sector's 2013 profit forecast to $12.9 billion on Thursday, saying that falling oil prices, and alliances and mergers, had helped the industry's figures.
"Today we are raising our global profit outlook for this year to $12.9 billion (9.4 billion euros). And we see that increasing to $19.7 billion next year," IATA chief Tony Tyler told reporters at the organisation's Geneva base.
"That is $1.2 billion better for 2013 than we expected in September. And it is $3.3 billion better for 2014," he added.
"This is being led primarily by a slight fall in the high price of oil and the positive impact that mergers and joint ventures are having, generating better connectivity for passenger and driving efficiency," Tyler said.
If the 2014 forecast turned out to be accurate, it would be the sector's highest-ever profit figure, he underlined.
A 2014 profit figure of $19.7 billion "sounds like a very large number", he said.
"It is. But it is shared among hundreds or airlines. They will take in $743 billion in revenues by transporting some 3.3 billion passengers," Tyler noted, saying that the sector would hardly be rolling in cash.
"Even a simple division of the profit by the number of passengers will quickly show that the industry will be taking a little less than 6 dollars per passenger carried. In 2012, we could afford a coffee, in 2013 a sandwich and in 2014, maybe both," he added.
The average rate of profitability of the globe's airlines should reach 2.6 percent next year, IATA said.
In 2012, airline turned a profit of $7.4 billion. (AFP)