The airline industry is on course for record profit in 2018

Global passenger traffic up 7.2pc in Oct: IATA

US airlines to scoop almost half of global profit in 2018

Worldwide passenger demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), rose 7.3% in October versus the same period previous year, according to IATA's latest data.

North American airlines will make $16.4 billion in 2018, according to the IATA forecast, up from this year's projected net profit of $15.6 billion and more than any other region in the world.

The association said global passenger demand rose by 7.3 per cent y-o-y, with airlines in all regions recording traffic growth.

That's according to research by IATA, the International Air Transport Association.

"Safety performance is solid".

IATA Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, said demand for air travel remained strong ahead of the holiday travel season. "Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability", said Mr de Juniac.

He said: "To continue to deliver on our full potential, governments need to raise their game-implementing global standards on security, finding a reasonable level of taxation, delivering smarter regulation and building the cost-efficient infrastructure to accommodate growing demand".

However, the industry also faces longer-term challenges and many of them are in the hands of governments, he said. "Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development", he said, adding the industry benefits to the economy include 2.7 million direct jobs and support for 3.5 percent of global economic activity.

IATA said there "continues to be indications" that inbound United States travel is being deterred by the additional security measures now involved when travelling to the country. Cargo volume is expected to grow 4.5% y-o-y to 62.5 million tonnes.

The organisation forecast profit would grow to $600m next year from $300m this year on the back of a minor increase in demand.

Global tourists travelling by air are expected to spend more than $750 billion in 2018, a rise of 15% in just over 2 years.

"The focus is really on the pressure from cost (increases)", said Pearce. Revenues from the passenger business are forecast to grow to $581bn, up 9.2 per cent on $532bn expected in 2017, according to Iata. The Middle East should see significant gains, with demand far outstripping capacity growth that's set to be the lowest since 2002 as companies such as Qatar Airways respond to sluggish oil-industry demand and the impact of travel restrictions. Cargo revenues will continue to do well in 2018, reaching $59.2bn, up 8.6 per cent from expected 2017 revenues of $54.5bn.

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