Oil Prices Plunge to New Lows, Airlines Expected to Profit

Oil Prices Plunge to New Lows, Airlines Expected to Profit

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

Oil prices continued plunging Wednesday and closed at $60.94 per barrel, the lowest since July 2009.

Cheaper oil means cheaper jet fuel - and led to record high profit projections for the global airline industry.

According to the International Air Transport Association, which represents 84 percent of worldwide air traffic, airlines will bring in $25 billion in net profit in 2015 - "well above" this year's $19.9 billion and the $10.6 billion made in 2013.

Morris Burns, an oil consultant and former Executive Director of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, said this will lead to cheaper flights.

"You'll definitely see an increase in profits," he said. "Then they'll drop that price [when it comes to flights] to keep people using their services."

Burns said the falling price of oil will also impact other types of transportation industries.

"95 to 98 percent of all transportation in the world operates on fossil fuel [such as] gasoline, diesel [and] jet fuel," he told NewsWest 9. "As the price of that goes down, the cost of shipping by rail is less, the price of flying a plane is less [and] the cost of driving a truck is less."

The price for a gallon of gas dropped to a four-year low Monday, hitting a national average of $2.72.

AAA predicted it would fall to $2.50 a gallon by Christmas.

According to Burns, the crude oil market is plunging to new lows because of factors outside of United States control.

"It's gotten worse because Japan, China, Russia, Germany [and] lot of other countries are experiencing an economic slowdown," he said.

He is confident oil prices will "bottom out" and take an upward turn as it gets colder in the northern hemisphere and people begin relying more heavily on heating.

"Prices will go back up by January or February. The sky is not falling."