Global air freight demand remains strong, growth may be ebbing

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The organisation - which represents more than 270 airlines accounting for 83pc of global air passenger traffic - said that passenger demand jumped 7.2pc in October compared to October 2016, with demand in Europe rising 6.2pc year-on-year. Of the $38.4bn, $27.9bn will come from North American and European airlines.

"Signs pointing to broad-based economic upturn continuing into 2018 is also a good news for air travel demand", he said.

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.

Driven by a predicted two-fold growth in net profit by Middle East carriers, net profits in the global aviation industry are set to surge by some 11 per cent in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said on Tuesday.

Slower growth for both passenger, at 6% compared to 7.5% growth in 2017), cargo at 4.5% in 2018 versus 9.3% in 2017 demand. It now expects profits of US$34.5 billion for this year vis-a-vis the US$31.4 billion announced in June. The demand for air cargo is at its strongest level in over a decade.

A slight decline in the operating margin to 8.1%, down from 8.3% in 2017. "And tightening supply conditions in the fourth quarter should see the air cargo industry deliver its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010", said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

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Middle East airlines, meanwhile, will see net profits doubling to $600 million in 2018, up from the $300 million they will make this year, IATA said.

Rising fuel prices have also hit USA airlines, but high demand and improving economies in Europe have helped trigger profit in airlines worldwide, an IATA economist told Reuters.

Strong demand, efficiency and reduced interest payments will help airlines improve net profitability in 2018 despite rising costs, de Juniac said. "However, given increases in airline input costs, and by contrast to the situation in recent years, we are unlikely to see a boost from to demand from lower airfares", Oxley said.

India's growth was double-digit for the 38th consecutive month. While momentum is easing after a period of restocking, the development of e-commerce should mean that growth rates remain ahead of the pace of expansion in world trade.

"Overall unit costs are expected to grow by 4.3 per cent in 2018 [a significant acceleration on the 1.7 per cent increase in 2017]".