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Strengthened Profitability Projections for Airlines in 2024

Jun 12, 2024 | News
Plane in the sky

On June 3, 2024, International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced some great news1 for the airline industry as market outlook continues to improve. IATA strengthened profitability projections for airlines in 2024 as compared with its original June and December 2023 forecasts, showing steady recovery since the global pandemic.

IATA is now predicting  $30.5 Billion in Net Profit in 2024, an improvement over 2023 net profit (~$27.4B), and an increase over the forecast IATA released in December 2023 for 2024 ($25.7B).1

Outlook updates and record highs for airlines

What’s driving profitability and the updated outlook? While net profits are growing a bit more slowly than operating profits (+11.3% vs +14.5%), both are hitting double digits within a year. Revenues are expected to grow slightly faster than expenses (9.7% vs 9.4%).1

Net profits are predicted to reach $30.5 billion in 2024 ( 3.1% net profit margin). This is an improvement on 2023 net profits, estimated to be $27.4 billion (3.0% net profit margin). It is also an improvement on the $25.7 billion (2.7% net profit margin) forecast for 2024 profits that IATA released in December 2023.2

Strengthening demand and profitability for airlines

IATA Director General, Willie Walsh, says these projections reflect the industry’s resilience and the popularity of air travel.3

“In a world of many and growing uncertainties, airlines continue to shore-up their profitability. The expected aggregate net profit of $30.5 billion in 2024 is a great achievement considering the recent deep pandemic losses. With a record five billion air travelers expected in 2024, the human need to fly has never been stronger. Strengthening airline profitability and growing financial resilience is important. Profitability enables investments...in the sustainability solutions we will need to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.1

Airline industry revenue predicted to reach a historic record in 2024

IATA also predicts that industry revenues will reach a record high in 2024, forecasted at $996 billion. This is driven by the significant value and growth in the consumer industry, and offsets cargo industry performance.

Air travel continues to deliver value to consumers. Passenger travel is predicted to grow to 4.96 billion and passenger revenue is forecast to reach $774 billion, and IATA’s April 2024 public opinion poll shows that 77% of respondents agree that air travel is good value for money.4

Passengers rely on airlines for safe, sustainable and efficient travel. IATA’s own public opinion polling4 demonstrated the important role that travelers see the airline industry playing:

  • 86% said that business travel is an easy investment to justify.
  • 77% agreed that air travel is good value for money.
  • 90% said that air travel is a necessity for modern life.
  • 83% recognized that the global air transport network is a key contributor to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.                                        

Cargo revenues are expected to fall to $120B in 2024 (from $138B in 2023). This is still above 2019 levels (which was $101B), and the December 2023 forecast of $111B and is viewed as a normalization after extraordinary pandemic highs.

Airlines are growing

With 2024 predicted to be such a strong year for air travel, how are airlines keeping up? Many turn to automation, to manage crew lodging, day of operations changes, vendor payments, crew ticketing, and more.

Learn how TA Connections can support airlines through this growth phase, and get a personalized demonstration to see how we transform airline operations today.


  1. Industry outlook continues to improve Airlines Magazine June 2024
  2. IATA raises 2023 profit expectations for airlines to $23bn and sees small rise for 2024 Flight Global December 2023
  3. IATA Eyes Airline Record $964 Billion 2024 Revenue, As 4.7 Billion Fly Forbes Magazine December 2023
  4. Airline Profitability Outlook Improves for 2024 IATA Pressroom June 2024