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The recent data release by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicated a spur of 5.9 percent in the overall global air freight markets in October 2017, compared to the same period, last year.

Globally, IATA is expecting net profit to rise to hit US$38.4 billion next year, up 11.3% from the US$34.5 billion expected for 2017.

Demand, according to IATA has been boosted by very strong growth on the trade lane to and from Asia, which increased by more than 67 per cent in the first nine months of the year.

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.

"Safety performance is solid. It's still, however, a tough business, and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses", said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata's director general and chief executive. "More routes are being opened, and airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability", said de Juniac.

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".

The Iata chief said the industry also faces longer-term challenges.

The region's carriers face challenges to their business models, Iata said, and from low oil revenues, regional conflict, crowded air space, the impact of travel restrictions to the United States, and competition from the new "super connector" [Turkish Airlines].

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Revenues from the passenger business are expected to grow to $581 billion (up 9.2 per cent on $532 billion in 2017).

A rise in cargo carried to 62.5 million tonnes, up 4.5% on the 59.9 million tonnes in 2017.

Global tourists travelling by air are expected to spend more than $750 billion in 2018, a rise of 15% in just over 2 years.

North American airlines are once again primed to record the highest profits in the industry. "This is a critical activity for the global economy", said Mr de Juniac.

"The focus is really on the pressure from cost (increases)", said Pearce.

A boom in traveller numbers has already led to this year's projected net profit being revised up, after it was forecast at $31.4bn in June.

It's the 15th consecutive month that the demand growth outstripped the capacity growth, which is believed to be a positive indicator for load factors, yields, and financial performance.

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