In My Perspective
2023, a year of recovery
The global airline industry is beating expectations as rebounding travel offsets a turbulent economic and geopolitical environment. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry is expected to recover in 2023, posting a net profit margin of 1.2%, as net profits reach $9.8 billion – more than double the previous forecast of $4.7 billion.
We see that the outlook has significantly improved since the end of 2022, a year that posed a series of daunting challenges to the aviation sector, from rising costs and growing economic uncertainty to continued supply chain snarls. Since then, positive developments including the lifting of the last Covid-19 restrictions, an easing of jet fuel prices, and high demand for travel in many markets have strengthened the industry recovery.
We have continued to support the industry’s comeback in the first half of the year and in the recent Paris Air Show we secured a string of landmark sales and announced some decarbonization advances. One of the major announcements was IndiGo’s firm order for 500 A320 Family aircraft, setting the record for the single biggest purchase agreement in the history of commercial aviation and the disclosure of 25 A321neo for Volaris, as part of a purchase agreement signed late last year. During the air show, Airbus set a record for the largest order intake in one month (June), with 902 aircraft ordered, reaching a backlog for almost 8,000 aircraft.
Apart from these exciting announcements, we are proud to continue driving the industry’s transition to decarbonisation with innovative technology. Among the advancements presented was EcoPulse, a distributed hybrid-electric propulsion aircraft demonstrator jointly developed with Daher and Safran.
The latest work on the EcoPulse’s final aerodynamic and systems configuration paves the way for a planned test flight later this year that will use the aircraft’s six distinctive electric propellers, powered by a new integrated high-voltage battery.
We are also making headway on hydrogen-based propulsion technologies that are at the heart of ZEROe, our low-carbon emission aircraft concept, as part of our contribution to the aviation industry’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Recent developments include significant progress in the areas of hydrogen combustion and hydrogen fuel cells.
After the Paris Air Show, VivaAerobus signed a Memorandum of Understanding for 90 A321neo, that will bring the airline's total order book to 170 A320 Family aircraft. The A321neo is the largest member of Airbus’ A320neo Family, offering unparalleled range and performance. By incorporating new generation engines and Sharklets, the A321neo brings a 50% noise reduction and more than 20% fuel savings compared to previous single-aisle generation aircraft, while maximizing passenger comfort with the widest single-aisle cabin and large overhead stowage space. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, the aircraft will support Viva´s international and domestic growth.
And most recently we celebrated together with Avianca the completion, in less than two years, of the largest cabin reconfiguration project in the region covering 104 A320 Family aircraft. With the new upgraded cabin, Avianca will offer its customers 20% more seats per aircraft differentiated in Premium, Plus and Economy classes.
Considering this positive momentum, it's safe to say that despite major challenges, aviation is staging an impressive comeback in 2023, creating new opportunities for Airbus to strengthen its presence in Latin America.