World Media

Middle East Airlines' Profits to Double in 2018, Says IATA

Middle East Airlines' Profits to Double in 2018, Says IATA

Led by U.S. airlines, net profits in the aviation industry are set to rise by some 11 percent in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday as it presented economic forecasts for the industry.

North American airlines will make $16.4 billion in 2018, according to the IATA forecast, up from this year's projected net profit of $15.6 billion and more than any other region in the world.

The region's carriers face challenges to their business models, Iata said, and from low oil revenues, regional conflict, crowded air space, the impact of travel restrictions to the USA, and competition from the new "super connector" [Turkish Airlines].

After declining for six years in a row, passenger yields, a measure of ticket pricing, are also expected to rise 3 percent next year after falling 1.5 per cent in 2017.

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

Interestingly, the IATA data hinted at a slowdown from the 9.2 percent annual growth recorded in September 2017.

Middle East airlines will see net profits doubling to $600 million in 2018, up from the $300 million they made in 2017, according to IATA. The demand for air cargo is at its strongest level in over a decade.

European airlines will record a net profit of $11.5 billion next year, according to the forecast. "It's still, however, a tough business, and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses", said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata's director general and chief executive.

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A slight decline in the operating margin to 8.1%, down from 8.3% in 2017.

Latin America: Airlines in Latin America are forecast to generate a $900 million net profit in 2018, up from $700 million in 2017. "While restocking cycles are usually short-lived, the growth of e-commerce is expected to support continued momentum in the cargo business beyond the rate of expansion of world trade in 2018", the association added.

Andrew Herdman, director-general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, expects that airfares in Asia, which remain at "very affordable levels", may need to be increased in line with higher oil prices.

Despite strong cargo demand in October, the IATA report indicates that its growth may have ebbed.

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Iata said passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018. While booming passenger traffic will spur fares, airlines will be challenged by rising costs for fuel and labor.


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