Cape Town - In 2012 the profits made by airlines around the world amounted to $2.54 per passenger. That means airlines make only about R40 profit on every air ticket they sell.
"The global aviation industry registered a combined net post-tax profit of $7.6bn. This was generated on the back of revenues of $680bn globally," said Brian Pearce, chief economist at the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
"The profits are thin and fragile. The numbers seem high but the reality is that the margins are incredibly thin."
Iata has released its latest set of financial forecasts for the industry. The outlook for Africa for 2013 is a profit of $100m for the year.
"The aviation industry is linked to global economic growth. It's clear that the global economy is still under severe pressure," said John Slosar, CEO of Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific.
Slosar said cargo is still under great pressure, especially in regions such as Europe. "I suppose this is indicative of the economic state of some areas."
Iata is hosting its 69th annual general meeting in Cape Town.
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