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Before You Go

For Sunday, February 16, 2014

By McClatchy News Services


Record airline profits forecast for '14

The world's airline industry has rebounded from the recession and expects 2014 to be the most profitable year on record, thanks to stable fuel prices and growing travel demand.

That's great news if you're an airline executive or shareholder. But don't expect the suddenly well-off airlines to pass along their good fortune to passengers by slashing fares.

Industry experts do say the continued pressure from low-cost carriers should keep the big network carriers from imposing dramatic fare hikes.

Instead, airlines probably will invest more of their profits in roomier seats, better entertainment systems and tastier food. That would enable them to offer pricier seats and extras for fliers ready to move up from the economy section.

The Geneva-based International Air Transport Association predicted that the world's airlines will take in a combined $19.7 billion in profits this year, surpassing the previous high of $19.2 billion in 2010.


The next time you get a drink on a United Airlines flight, you may notice a new cup in your hand.

In an effort to become more eco-friendly, United is replacing its foam cups with recyclable plastic cups.

United is not the only airline thinking about air travel's environmental effect.

Southwest Airlines has converted diesel-burning ramps, belt-loaders and other equipment to electric power and installed plane seats and interiors made with recyclable material.

Delta Air Lines recycles some of its waste and donates money generated to Habitat for Humanity, the home-building nonprofit.

American Airlines has replaced heavy flight manuals and maps with electronic tablets to reduce the weight of its planes.

Airline travel is responsible for about 2 percent of the planet's carbon emissions, or about 250 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. That tonnage is expected to grow with the demand for travel rising over the next decade, according to several studies.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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