Global airlines raise profit outlook, focus on emissions

Laptop ban could derail air travel bumper year

"We look forward to sharing our perspective here and in more details with the industry at the Paris Airshow".

Global airlines raised their 2017 profit forecast for the industry on Monday and heard pleas to stand by a pledge to curb emissions, despite a US decision to exit the separate Paris climate pact.

CAE leverages its presence at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) to present senior airline executives from around the world with a preview of its first CAE Airline Pilot Demand Outlook.

"There is not much buffer", said De Juniac, who was previously CEO of Air France-KLM Group. "That's why airlines must remain vigilant against any cost increases, including from taxes, labour and infrastructure". "For a third year in a row we expect returns that are above the cost of capital", de Juniac added.

The new IATA forecast anticipates an average oil price of $54/barrel for Brent crude (up from $44.6/barrel in 2016 but close to current levels), reflecting a broad balance between Opec supply cuts and new supply from United States shale oil producers.

In the Middle East, profits and passenger numbers have fallen sharply in recent months, according to IATA.

Finnair, which routes travellers from Asia to Europe via its Helsinki hub, saw increased demand for destinations in northern Europe, such as Lapland, previous year because they were seen as safer.

US President Donald Trump seized on the violence to argue for an executive order that would temporarily ban entry into the United States of people from six predominantly Muslim countries.

De Juniac criticised the way the ban was imposed, saying it showed an erosion of the traditionally close ties between governments and airlines.

"We must trust that valid intelligence underpinned the United Kingdom and U.S. decisions".

He also had veiled criticism for Trump's attacks on free trade deals and Britain's vote to exit the European Union. "They are a threat to our industry".

Asia-Pacific and Europe were each expected to post US$7.4 billion in profits - the latter showing signs of bouncing back after seeing business disrupted by terror attacks in 2015 and 2016.

About half the industry profits are being generated in North America ($15.4 billion).

The weekend's deadly attack in London and debate over travel restrictions, including laptop bans, have put safety concerns high on the agenda as global airline executives gather in Mexico for the industry's largest meeting of the year. Latin American and Mideast carriers are expected to earn $800 million and $400 million respectively, while those in Africa may lose $100 million, all improvements on prior projections.

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