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". "The region's carriers face challenges to their business models, and from low oil revenues, regional conflict, crowded air space, the impact of travel restrictions to the USA, and competition the new "super connector" (Turkish Airlines)".
The bulk of the profit generated next year will come from North America where, according to IATA, airlines in the region are forecast to record a combined net profit of $16.4 billion.
"This year airlines will safely fly 4 billion people and 60 million tonnes of cargo over some 20,000 city pairs". Mr de Juniac is the former chief executive of Air France-KLM. That part of the world also "remains the only worldwide market not to have grown in annual terms this year".
Globally, IATA said industry net profit would rise from $34.5bn in 2017 to $38.4bn in 2018 thanks in part to strong demand, efficiency and reduced interest payments.
A hard Brexit would be a "disaster" for UK-based airlines, the head of the International Air Transport Association said on Tuesday.
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IATA said there "continues to be indications" that inbound U.S. travel is being deterred by the additional security measures now involved when travelling to the country.
All regions, except North America, improved load factors during the month, with an overall 0.8 percentage point increase to 80.8 percent. Average net profit per passenger is also forecast to rise to $8.90, up from $8.45 in 2017. The inventory-to-sales ratio in the U.S. is looking sideways, thereby indicating that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly-which often gives air cargo a boost-has ended. "This led cargo volume to grow at twice the pace of the expansion in world trade (4.3%)", said IATA.
Oil prices are expected to average $60 a barrel for Brent Crude in 2018, up 10.7 per cent from $54.2 per barrel in 2017, according to IATA.
De Juniac added that it was vital for governments to support the growing airline industry as it faces longer term challenges. Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development.