We have seen a steady recovery throughout 2022 in most regions of the world. North America was the standout performer, and the outlier was Asia-Pacific, which remained in the doldrums because of continued COVID restrictions. But we have a lot of optimism for Asia in 2023, especially now that China has announced it will relax its international travel restrictions – provided everyone is sensible about COVID restrictions.
We are expecting airlines to generate an overall USD4.7-billion profit in 2023, but we can’t get carried away – that is only just over one dollar profit per passenger. And we need to put that in the context of collective losses of USD187 billion for the 2020-2022 period. But I think 2023 is looking positive. We should see growth continue to rebound and the industry strengthen. The key challenge will be to stop politicians ruining it all. Mostly we will face what I call "business as usual challenges" – that is, relatively high oil prices, rising infrastructure charges, capacity bottlenecks, and so on. These are the sorts of things that airlines have dealt with on an ongoing basis for many years. There is a particular extraordinary circumstance that is more difficult – the continued closure of Russian airspace.