Though a rise in the total number of passengers is expected - jumping from 4.1 billion in 2017 to 4.3 billion - the growth in this rise has decreased.
"As expected, the recent severe weather in the Americas region had only a temporary impact on the healthy travel demand we have seen this year, and we remain on course for another year of above-trend growth", Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general and CEO, said.
However, IATA said it was not concerned there was a pilot shortage after high-profile cancellations at Ryanair and American Airlines due to rostering issues and after some USA airlines awarded high pay increases to pilots this year. Average net profit per departing passenger is projected to climb from $8.45 to $8.90 in 2018.
Total passenger revenue is forecast to grow to $581 billion, from $532 billion this year as passenger numbers rise to 4.3 billion, from 4.1 billion.
"The region's carriers face challenges to their business models, and from low oil revenues, regional conflict, crowded air space, the impact of travel restrictions to the USA, and competition the new "super connector" [Turkish Airlines]", IATA said.
"Demand for air travel remains strong as we head into the holiday travel season, and signs point to the broad-based economic upturn continuing into 2018, which is good news for demand for air travel". It now expects profits of US$34.5 billion for this year vis-a-vis the US$31.4 billion announced in June.
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"Demand for air freight grew by 5.9% in October".
Asia-Pacific airlines had the highest traffic growth compared to 2016 at 10.3 percent.
"Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability", he said while highlighting the challenges of rising fuel costs and well as labour and infrastructure expenses.
Longer-term challenges, that de Juniac blamed on governments, are global security standards, tax levels, regulation and infrastructure. "While restocking cycles are usually short-lived, 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", it added.
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.