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In its report, the association said total airline industry net profit in 2018 will rise to $38.4 billion, an increase of around 11 percent on the projected figure for 2017.

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 USA carriers weighing in with nearly half.

But not all the forecasts are so positive, with passenger demand measured in revenue passenger kilometres - measures of traffic for an airline flight - set to rise by only 6%, slightly less than 2017's 7.5% increase.

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. "Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability", added de Juniac, while highlighting the challenges of rising fuel costs and well as labour and infrastructure expenses.

He said: "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".

Overall revenues are also forecast to climb to $824 billion next year, from $754 billion seen in 2017.

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A rise in cargo carried to 62.5 million tonnes, up 4.5% on the 59.9 million tonnes in 2017. "This is a critical activity for the global economy", said Mr de Juniac.

In 2018, direct employment by the airline industry is forecast to be more than 2.7 million. "More people than ever are traveling".

Passenger demand next year is forecast to grow 7.0 per cent, amid the slowest announced capacity expansion seen since 2002 at 4.9 per cent.

In response to the tougher conditions regional carriers have cut costs and unprofitable routes, with Dubai carrier Emirates reporting a 111 per cent increase in profit to $214m in the April 1 to September 30 period after a 75 per cent slump in the first half of its previous fiscal year. Demand to and from North America fell in year-on-year terms for the seventh consecutive month in September and it remains the only global market not to have grown in annual terms this year.

Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018.

In terms of average net profit per departing passenger, global airlines are expecting to see a higher US$8.90 compared with US$8.45 in 2017.

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