The more complete financial data from Q2 show that the year-on-year decline in profit margins was quite small for the industry in aggregate, and actually masked strong increases in the case of European and Latin American carriers. North American airlines again posted the widest profit margins, albeit slightly narrower than a year ago.
Industry-wide passenger yields posted positive, albeit very modest, year-on-year growth in July for just the second time in almost four years. Passenger yields have continued to trend higher at an annualized rate of around 3.5%.
Global airline share prices rose by 0.9% in September, driven by a gradual recovery in the North American index following two sharp monthly declines. By contrast, European and Asia Pacific airline shares both fell modestly.
Oil prices have trended higher in recent months, reflecting supply constraint on the part of OPEC and Russia, as well as a weaker US dollar. The price of Brent crude rose to a 26-month high of US$58.50/bbl during September.
Passenger and freight volumes both grew robustly in year-on-year terms in August, although the seasonally-adjusted (SA) upward trend in the former has moderated. The SA passenger load factor remains at a historically high level, while the SA freight load factor rose to a three-year high in August.
Stronger global trade conditions are helping to support demand for premium class travel, particularly to/from Asia. Premium’s share of passenger revenues rose to 26.3% in the first seven months of 2017, from 26.0% a year ago.
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