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For the first time since 2019, the airline industry may return to profitability next year. With the holiday season set to officially kick off in the US this week, passenger numbers, cancellations, and other data should help investors get a better handle on what to expect through the end of 2022 and into the first half of 2023.

Airport traffic has begun to approach pre-pandemic levels on a consistent basis while the number of employees at airlines has already begun surpassing 2019 levels. An industry hiring spree throughout the Summer and Fall has been a critical step in stemming a surge of cancellations. Some additional relief for carriers’ bottom lines should be granted by a significant easing of jet fuel prices.

Related ETFs: Defiance Hotel, Airline, and Cruise ETF (CRUZ), U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS)

Per Bloomberg, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, announced this week that the airline industry remains likely to achieve positive earnings next year for the first time since 2019. The IATA, which is a trade association representing some 290 airlines or 83% of total air traffic, originally predicted this rebound in June and, despite economic headwinds that have prompted pessimism about consumer spending in the year ahead, they’re sticking to their forecast.

US airline and traveler data for the period of this Wednesday to Sunday should generate a pretty good preview of what we can expect for the upcoming Spring and Summer travel season. AAA estimates that approximately 54.6 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, equivalent to about 98% of pre-pandemic volume.

As of their latest estimates, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects travel volumes this week could approach…

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