Nigeria's ease of doing business raises Africa's air traffic by 7.5%

Global passenger traffic up 7.2pc in Oct: IATA

Passengers have directly contributed to the growth in profit, as the average net profit per departing passenger is expected to rise to $8.90 (up from $8.45 in 2017).

The global airlines' grouping anticipates regional air transport demand to grow 7% y-o-y in 2018, while capacity is expected to rise by 6.8% y-o-y.

"North American airlines have generated more than half of the industry's profits produced in the past three years, but rising cost pressures have slowed further improvements", the report said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has cautioned governments across the world about privatising airports to fund growth, a statement that assumes significance as India plans to upgrade and build airports through private sector participation. It now expects profits of US$34.5 billion for this year vis-a-vis the US$31.4 billion announced in June.

And the IATA said growth is expected to continue in 2018 by almost $1 billion to $16.4 billion.

Despite the rise in passenger and cargo numbers, the rate of growth for both will be lower in 2018 then 2017, IATA said.

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"Demand for air freight grew by 5.9% in October".

Cargo is also forecast to continue its recovery, with growth of 4.5 percent expected over this year's total - 62.5 million tonnes against 2017's 59.9 million tonnes. Demand to and from North America fell in year-on-year terms for the seventh consecutive month in September (the most recent month for which route-specific figures are available) and it remains the only global market not to have grown in annual terms this year. Meanwhile, rising labor costs are expected to account for 30.9 percent of airlines' total costs during 2018.

Airlines and cargo companies also see opportunities from commercial drones, Celine Hourcade, head of cargo transformation at IATA said.

Longer-term challenges, that de Juniac blamed on governments, are global security standards, tax levels, regulation and infrastructure.

"By bringing together people of different backgrounds and cultures to do business, to learn from one another and to solve problems, aviation provides enormous value beyond what can be calculated". "Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development", he said, adding the industry benefits to the economy include 2.7 million direct jobs and support for 3.5% of global economic activity. After all, worldwide tourists traveling by air are projected to spend more than $750 billion next year, which marks a 15 percent increase in just over two years.

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