Middle East airline profits to double next year, says Iata

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It is also an announcement of global passenger traffic results for October showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 7.2 per cent, compared to the same month previous year. "And tight supply conditions in the fourth quarter should see the air cargo industry deliver its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis in 2010", said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA.

In Europe, capacity increased 4.5pc year-on-year in October, while the overall load factor was 1.3 percentage points higher at 84.9pc.

IATA said there "continues to be indications" that inbound USA travel is being deterred by the additional security measures now involved when travelling to the country. It will on Tuesday present its updated economic forecasts for the industry at a media event in Geneva.

Overall, revenues are expected to rise to $824 billion, up from 2017 revenues of $754 billion.

"These are good times for the global air transport industry".

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"We see no reason for this cycle to end at the moment".

Cargo demand is also expected to grow, with the amount to cargo carried predicted to rise to 62.5 million tonnes-up from 59.9 million tonnes in 2017.

Middle East carriers achieved a 6.9% rise in demand in October, improved from 3.9% in September, while North American airline carryings rose by 3.7% in October.

The growth in passenger numbers for SA (international and domestic) was expected to be between 3% and 4% a year for the next five years, according to projections by Airlines Association of Southern Africa.

While the demand in the cargo markets remains strong, several indicators show that it may have passed the growth peak. More people than ever are travelling.

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However, it remained a "tough business", with the industry being challenged by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses.

IATA said the biggest challenge to profitability in 2018 would be rising costs linked to the higher oil prices and other factors. Revenues from the passenger business are forecast to grow to $581bn, up 9.2 per cent on $532bn expected in 2017, according to Iata.

IATA said demand to and from North America in particular fell in year-on-year terms for the seventh consecutive month.

Freight volumes are still expected to grow in 2018, although at a slower pace than in 2017.

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