IATA : AIRLINE BUSINESS CONFIDENCE INDEX OCTOBER 2016 SURVEY
When surveyed in early-October as part of our quarterly business confidence survey, airline CFOs and heads of cargo reported that profitability was unchanged in Q3 2016 compared to the same period a year ago.
The results from October’s survey also showed that industry heads continue to expect very little change in profits over the next 12 months, consistent with signs that the industry profitability cycle may have peaked.
On the demand side, the responses were consistent with the modest moderation in passenger growth seen during most of this year to date, and were in line with an improvement in conditions for air cargo since early-2016. Expectations for volume growth over the year ahead remain positive for both the passenger and cargo businesses.
The majority of respondents reported an annual decrease in operating costs in Q3 2016, helped in some cases by the recovery of currencies against the US dollar. But given that oil and jet fuel prices have trended slowly higher since bottoming-out in early-2016, most respondents expect input costs to increase over the next 12 months.
The outlook for input costs contrasts with expectations for yields and points to a more challenging profitability environment. In a reflection of strong competition and the subdued economic backdrop, over 90% of respondents expect passenger yields to remain unchanged or to fall further in the year ahead. On the freight side, ongoing increases in freight capacity are expected to continue to weigh on freight yields over the coming 12 months.
Airline employment activity increased for the seventh consecutive quarter in Q3 2016. But respondents were more cautious about expectations for employment over the next 12 months than they have been in recent surveys.