Airlines see rosier 2022, make new climate pledge

Global airlines are projecting a sharp drop in financial losses next year as the industry gradually recovers from the health crisis.

The International Air Transport Association predicted that net losses at airlines would narrow to under $12 billion in 2022, from nearly $52 billion this year.

While airlines across all regions are expected to perform better, those in North America are forecast to return to profit next year.

With a rosier outlook, a new pledge from the airlines industry: Global airlines agreed on Monday at an industry meeting in Boston to step up plans to tackle climate change, facing mounting pressure from regulators and environmental groups over the impact of billions of passengers expected to take to the skies in coming decades.

The IATA, which groups 290 airlines including leading state carriers, committed to reaching "net zero" carbon emissions by 2050, despite opposition from Chinese airlines. IATA Director General Willie Walsh acknowledged the new commitment would be "an additional challenge at a very difficult time," but appealed for unity.

IATA DIRECTOR GENERAL WILLIE WALSH: “It's going to require everybody working with us to raise their game, it's not just going to be achieved by airlines we need aircraft engine manufacturers, air traffic controllers, airports, we need everybody to contribute in the interests of the environment and in the interest of sustaining the industry."

Demand for international travel is expected to double next year and reach 44% of pre-pandemic levels. However, vaccination rates and the lifting of government-imposed border restrictions will determine the pace of recovery.

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