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Geneva: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced an upgrade to its outlook for the airline industry's 2022 financial performance as the pace of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis quickens.

The organisation's forecast highlights include:

• Industry losses are expected to reduce to -$9.7 billion (improved from the October 2021 forecast for an $11.6 billion loss) for a net loss margin of -1.2%.

• That is a huge improvement from losses of $137.7 billion (-36.0% net margin) in 2020 and $42.1 billion (-8.3% net margin) in 2021.

• Industry-wide profitability in 2023 appears within reach with North America already expected to deliver an $8.8 billion profit in 2022.

• Efficiency gains and improving yields are helping airlines to reduce losses even with rising labor and fuel costs (the latter driven by a +40% increase in the world oil price and a widening crack spread this year).

• Industry optimism and commitment to emissions reductions are evident in the expected net delivery of over 1,200 aircraft in 2022.

• Strong pent-up demand, the lifting of travel restrictions in most markets, low unemployment in most countries, and expanded personal savings are fueling a resurgence in demand that will see passenger numbers reach 83% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

• Despite economic challenges, cargo volumes are expected to set a record high of 68.4 million tonnes in 2022.

"Airlines are resilient. People are flying in ever greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty. Losses will be cut to $9.7 billion this year and profitability is on the horizon for 2023. It is a time for optimism, even if there are still challenges on costs, particularly fuel, and some lingering restrictions in a few key markets," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.