Mideast airlines profit to hit $1bn


AIRLINES in the Middle East would post a profit of just under $1 billion this year as demand for air travel in the region surges, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said yesterday.

IATA forecasts the global industry to lose $1.7 billion in the same period primarily due to high fuel costs.
The organisation’s director-general Giovanni Bisignani said he expected passenger growth on Middle East airlines of around 15 per cent this year, with only growth of the domestic Chinese market higher at around 19 per cent.
The Middle East accounts for about eight per cent of the global market, he said, and has been the world’s fastest growing region in terms of passengers for the past three years.
It has been a bright spot in the troubled airline industry. Airliners posted a $3.2 billion loss last year and Bisignani said he expects the global industry to turn a profit in 2007 for the first time in six years.