Iata 'confident For 2007'

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has expressed confidence for the world airline industry this year and revised its financial forecast for the market.

It now expects that, on a global level, airlines will post a US$5.6 billion (£2.81 billion) net profit for 2007, up from the $5.1 billion forecast made in June.

The association said that average oil prices in 2007 have been higher than expected, but his has been offset for carriers by strong passenger demand.

Improvements in regional performance have also contributed to the higher forecast, with capacity increases of 42 per cent since 2001 improving the efficiency of Asia-Pacific based carriers and European operators expanding carrying potential by 29 per cent.

However looking into 2008 Giovanni Bisignani, director general of Iata, said that airlines are likely to face difficult challenges.

"While we are more optimistic for 2007, the continuing high price of oil combined with turmoil in credit markets is a cause for concern in 2008," he said.

"The impact of the credit crunch puts some question marks over the industry's performance next year and the continuing high price of fuel will become more difficult to mitigate with efficiency gains."

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