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IATA projects that this year airlines will collectively earn net income of $29.3bn on revenues of $727bn, generating the strongest profit margins since the mid-1960s.Airlines are, finally, enjoying the benefits of cost-cutting, improved aircraft efficiency and a falling oil price. However, after years when many airlines racked up debt and struggled to replace ageing fleets, while investors watched share prices dwindle, there was little clear sense at the Iata meeting how quickly the improved profitability might feed through into better service for passengers.Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas, Australia's flag carrier, expresses concerns typical of many airline executives. He says that his airline – which bounced back to a profit in the second half of last year and has $17bn of new aircraft on order – is investing in its fleet to ensure long-term profitability.North American airlines are doing best, with IATA expecting them to make $15.7bn of net profits this year – 54 per cent of the global total.
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