International airlines are soaring high on strong tailwinds from a booming leisure travel market, with events such as the World Cup providing an additional lift. A series of airline financial statements reveals remarkable profit upticks this year, with the industry making a confident stride towards a post-pandemic rebound.
Setting Sights on Pre-Pandemic Capacity
One such beacon of recovery is International Airlines Group (IAG), whose CEO Luis Gallego projects a return to pre-pandemic capacity by the year's end. Gallego's positive outlook stems from the robust customer demand that the group's airlines continue to experience.
“Customer demand remains strong across the Group, particularly for leisure travel, with around 80% of passenger revenue for the third quarter already booked. And our airlines have put in place plans to support operations during the busy summer period,” Gallego elaborated in his statement.
It's clear that the fervor for travel isn't limited to the IAG. Over at AirFrance-KLM Group, Q2 revenues soared past $8 billion, marking a near $1 billion increase from the previous year despite inflationary pressures.
Airlines Flourish with Key Events
Some airlines owe part of their growth to significant international events like the World Cup.
Qatar Airways, the Qatari national carrier, capitalized on the influx of tourists, operating around 140,000 flights to bring more than 1.4 million people to Qatar during the event. "Profitability has been driven by a 100% increase in passenger revenues in the last year,” noted the Group’s Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker.
He added, "We maintained our position as the airline of choice for millions of passengers worldwide and our team carried 31.7 million passengers, which is an increase of 71 percent over last year”. Despite the rosier picture painted by these earnings, not all airlines share the same enthusiasm.
Ryanair, for instance, posted a profit of $735 million for the second quarter but remains cautious. CEO Michael O’Leary expressed concern about the implications of certain macroeconomic trends on the company's performance.