The 2010s, fortunately, were much better for airlines than the 2000s. Rather than lose $49b, they collectively earned more than $200b. The industry in fact earned profits every year of the decade. And things got better over time, not worse, with profits much higher in the second half (2015-2019) than during the first (2010-2014). The single biggest reason for this? A mid-decade collapse in fuel prices — oil averaged $100 in the first half but just $57 in the second half. While still relatively high in historic terms, $57 is a price many of today’s airlines, using the latest aircraft technology, find comfortable.
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