Despite burgeoning costs, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) projects that the world's airlines will clock a record profit of US$38.4 billion in 2018, thanks to healthy demand, greater efficiency and reduced interest payments on debt.
Overall profit is expected to rise 11% to $38.4bn in 2018, and the outlook is encouraging, IATA said on Tuesday as it raised its 2017 forecast to $34.5bn, up from an earlier $31.4bn estimate, but still lower than 2016.
Latin American passenger traffic showed an 8.7% rise during the month, slowing from 10.7% in September; IATA said worldwide passenger volumes for the region's airlines have struggled to recover from the impacts of the September hurricanes.
"Safety performance is solid".
Iata chief Alexandre de Juniac said: "These are good times for the global air transport industry".
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".
"Governments are not meeting their responsibility to provide sufficient infrastructure for the industry to meet demand", de Juniac said.
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He said the aviation industry benefits to the economy include 2.7 million direct jobs and support for 3.5 per cent of global economic activity. The increase in fares was in line with expected inflation.
Revenues from the passenger business are expected to grow to $581 billion (up 9.2 per cent on $532 billion in 2017).
An estimated 4.3bn passengers will travel next year, with air cargo to rise to 62.5m tonnes. "More people than ever are traveling". De Juniac has said insolvency filings at carriers including Air Berlin Plc and Alitalia SpA reflect over-capacity rather than market weakness.
In response to the tougher conditions regional carriers have cut costs and unprofitable routes, with Dubai carrier Emirates reporting a 111 per cent increase in profit to $214m in the April 1 to September 30 period after a 75 per cent slump in the first half of its previous fiscal year. Total capacity climbed 6%, and load factor increased 1.percentage point to 80, which was a record for the month.
In its statement, IATA said the USA figure, up from a forecast $15.6 billion in 2017, actually represents a slight fall away in market share.
This was the 15th consecutive month in which demand growth outstripped capacity growth, which is positive for load factors, yields, and financial performance.
Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018.