This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Even though most are squeezing in more and more seats and cutting back on some of their more generous passenger policies, airlines will likely still see a significant drop in profits this year.

The largest airlines in the world will likely collectively see their profits drop in the remaining months of 2018, new information from the International Air Transport Association says. IATA has slashed its global airline profit prediction for 2018 to $33.8 billion — a 12% drop from its December 2017 estimate of $38.4 billion for the year.

That’s a major drop from global airlines’ earnings in 2017, which clocked in right at a collective $38 billion.

Airlines in North America are estimated to earn about 44% of the industry’s overall global profit in 2018, which comes out to about $15 billion in earnings, IATA said Monday at its annual meeting. That’s a precipitous drop from the $18.4 billion North American-based carriers earned in 2017.

The main culprit of shrinking profit margins for carriers around the globe? Rising oil prices. Aviation fuel costs are anticipated to grow by about 30% this year, the aviation group said, with crude oil predicted to reach around $70 a barrel. That is a 27% jump in oil prices from 2017. Growing labor costs and higher interest rates are also factors negatively impacting airlines’ bottom lines.

IATA’s low profit prediction comes amid several airline CEOs saying the rising fuel costs will lead to higher airfares around the world. At least one airline has embraced the jump in oil prices as a positive prospect for profits. Emirates, the airline that’s profits rose 67% in the 12-month period that ended March 31, said in its earnings report that the jump in income was due to higher oil prices.

Although the higher fuel prices meant higher operating costs for the Dubai-based carrier, Emirates reported it also “stoked the embers of economic recovery which contributed to better seat load factors and a modest climb in yields.”


Featured photo by vu3kkm/Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.