European airline margin charts: Wizz Air could take #1 from Ryanair

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Lufthansa Group's 16-Jun-2019 profit warning, in which it cut 2019 adjusted EBIT guidance by 20%, is another signpost as the European airline industry slips into a cyclical downturn.

At the same time, Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith has estimated a five-year timeline to catch up with the profitability of IAG and Lufthansa Group. Air France-KLM has long reported lower operating margins than its rivals and this looks likely once more in 2019, even after Lufthansa's reduced guidance.

IAG has led the three in recent years and Ryanair has consistently outperformed them all. However, Ryanair's heavy margin decline last year narrowed its lead over IAG.

According to consensus forecasts from Thomson Reuters, Ryanair will lose its long-held crown as Europe highest margin airline group to Wizz Air this year, with IAG in third. Norwegian is forecast to remain at the bottom and again to be the only European airline group to make an operating loss this year.

Analysts are forecasting that nine out of the 14 listed European airline groups will suffer from a fall in operating margin this year.

This report ranks listed European airlines by operating margin in 2018 and by consensus forecast margins for 2019.

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