Global air travel stays on course for more growth

IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac speaks during the Global Media Day in Geneva

Global air travel stays on course for more growth

The global airlines' industry is projected to record a higher net profit of Dollars 38.4 billion in 2018, primarily bolstered by strong demand, industry grouping IATA said on Tuesday.

The industry will see net profits rising 11.3 per cent to $38.4 billion (Dh141.04 billion) in 2018, marking slight improvement from the $34.5 billion it will make this year (revised up from the $31.4 billion forecast in June).

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents around 275 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic.

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Worldwide passenger demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), rose 7.3% in October versus the same period a year ago, according to IATA's latest data. The inventory-to-sales ratio in the United States is looking sideways, thereby indicating that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly-which often gives air cargo a boost-has ended. Asia-Pacific carriers are projected to earn $9 billion, Latin American airlines $900 million, and Middle Eastern carriers $600 million. Europe will provide the biggest increase in net income at a gain of $1.7 billion as travel continues to rebound from a spate of terrorist attacks and trans-Atlantic demand remains strong. Volumes are expected to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2018, down from the 9.3 per cent growth of 2017. But not all the forecasts are so positive, with passenger demand measured in revenue passenger kilometres set to rise by only 6 percent, slightly less than 2017's 7.5 percent increase.

Asia Pacific continued to lead the way with an 8.9 percent increase in capacity, followed by the Middle East on 5.4 percent and North America on 5.3 percent.

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. North America was one of just two regions to post a load factor decline.

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"Domestic markets have strengthened in China, India and Japan".

This is especially impressive considering that October was the 38th consecutive month of double-digit passenger percentage growth for India.

Capacity in the region was 5.2pc higher, and the load factor fell 1.1 percentage points to 79.2pc. However, in contrast, worldwide freight growth slumped in all regions except Africa.

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