Middle East airline profits to double next year, says Iata

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Middle East carriers recorded a 6.9 percent rise in demand in October year on year, up from 3.9 percent in September, said the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) in its monthly report released Monday.

Over the previous year, IATA statistics showed that airlines in India recorded an increase in passenger traffic of just over twenty percent.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) made the claim in its latest forecast of the global airline industry, published Tuesday.

IATA Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, said demand for air travel remained strong ahead of the holiday travel season. "It's still, however, a tough business and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses", he told a media briefing here today. "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", 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 Chief Economist Brian Pearce said the outlook "s still bright, bucking a trend to eight-year cycles that would indicate a major downturn was due soon "We are eight years into this air travel cycle, but we see no reason at present to expect that cyclical pattern to repeat itself", he said".

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In terms of revenue per passenger kilometres (RPK), airlines are expected to see a 6% growth in 2018 compared with a 5.7% expected increase in available seat kilometres (ASK). Overall revenues are seen rising 9.4% y-o-y to US$824 billion in 2018.

In its statement, IATA said the US figure, up from a forecast $15.6 billion in 2017, actually represents a slight fall away in market share. A rise in cargo carried to 62.5 million tonnes (up 4.5 per cent on the 59.9 million tonnes in 2017). Asia-Pacific carriers are projected to earn $9 billion, Latin American airlines $900 million, and Middle Eastern carriers $600 million.

Europe's airlines are in second place with an anticipated US$11.5 billion in profit, boosted by economic recovery in their home markets as well as some consolidation in that region.

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

Unique city pairs served by airlines grew to over 20,000 in 2017, +1,351 on 2016 and double the 10,000 city pairs served in 1996.

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