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Iata Chief Economist Brian Pearce said the outlook "s still bright, bucking a trend to eight-year cycles that would indicate a major downturn was due soon "We are eight years into this air travel cycle, but we see no reason at present to expect that cyclical pattern to repeat itself", he said".

Globally, Iata forecasts global industry net profit to rise to $38.4 billion in 2018, an improvement from the $34.5bn expected net profit in 2017, which Iata revised from a $31.4bn forecast in June.

Africa is set to remain the only unprofitable region, IATA predicts, with airlines suffering a collective $100 million loss in 2018, similar to this year.

The value of goods carried by airlines is expected to exceed $6.2 trillion in 2018, representing 7.4% of world GDP. Worldwide air travellers spend about $750bn annually.

In 2018, direct employment by the airline industry is forecast to be more than 2.7 million.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) made the claim in its latest forecast of the global airline industry, published Tuesday. More people than ever are travelling. "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.

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.

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"It's still, however, a tough business, and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses", Mr de Juniac noted.

European carriers' October demand climbed 6.2% over October, 2016, which was a slowdown compared to the 7.2% year-over-year growth recorded for September.

In terms of air freight, cargo volumes are similarly expected to rise at a slower pace than this year, down from 9.3 per cent in 2017 to 4.5 per cent in 2018, to reach 62.5 million tonnes. As a result, operating margins will decline from 8.3% this year to 8.1%, according to the forecast.

Iata said 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.

"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]".

"Governments are not meeting their responsibility to provide sufficient infrastructure for the industry to meet demand", de Juniac said.

"And the industry is ready to partner with governments to reinforce the foundations for global connectivity that are vital to modern life".


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