The global forecast for 2012 is $4.1-billion in net profits – a margin of 0.6%.
In South Africa, passenger numbers are a far cry from the growth, often in double digits, that was seen prior to the economic crisis. The level of domestic landings at Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) airports has also yet to recover.
South Africa's high airport taxes have also attracted the attention of the global industry because they now account for more than 10% of the costs incurred by airlines, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Meanwhile, Acsa's profits for 2012 are estimated at R2-billion – double that of 2008.
Lisa Steyn is a business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She holds a master's degree in journalism and media studies from Wits University. Her areas of interest range from energy and mining to financial services and telecommunication. When she is not poring over annual reports, Lisa can usually be found pottering about the kitchen. Read more from Lisa Steyn