According to the forecast by the industry's global trade association, combined net profits will hit $38.4 billion, from a revised $34.5 billion in 2017, with United States carriers weighing in with nearly half.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw year-over freight volumes increase by 4.4 percent and capacity increase by 3.9 percent, European airlines saw freight demand increase by 6.4 percent and capacity increase by 2.5 percent, Middle Eastern airlines saw freight volumes increase by 4.6 percent and freight capacity increase by 3.4 percent, Latin American airlines saw freight demand increase by 7.2 percent and freight capacity increase by 4.4 percent.
"These are good times for the global air transport industry".
"Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability", he said while highlighting the challenges of rising fuel costs and well as labour and infrastructure expenses. "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", de Juniac said.
A rise in overall revenues to $824 billion, up 9.4% on 2017 revenues of $754 billion.
Airlines in all regions recorded growth. "More people than ever are traveling".
That said, IATA expects passenger load factor to remain comfortably above the breakeven point for airlines globally going into 2018, despite earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) coming under pressure from higher costs. "And the industry is ready to partner with governments to reinforce the foundations for global connectivity that are vital to modern life", said Mr de Juniac.
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. Strong performance of the passenger business is supported by expected robust GDP growth of 3.1 per cent, the strongest since 2010.
IATA said demand to and from North America in particular fell in year-on-year terms for the seventh consecutive month. Cargo revenues will continue to do well in 2018, reaching $59.2bn, up 8.6 per cent from expected 2017 revenues of $54.5bn.