Global airline body increases profit forecast for industry

A global airline body has improved its profit outlook for the industry this year. The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said on Wednesday that carriers are expected to earn a collective profit of US$10.6 billion ($13.3 billion) this year. This is higher than its December estimate of US$8.4 billion.

Iata said the more positive outlook is based on growing business confidence and industrial production. Its director-general and chief executive Tony Tyler said industry profits "are taking a small step in the right direction".

He added: "Against a backdrop of improved optimism for global economic prospects, passenger demand has been strong and cargo markets are starting to grow again." But he added that fuel prices remain high and the volatile situation in Cyprus is worrying.

The island's Parliament recently rejected a call to levy charges on bank deposits, as part of a European Union-International Monetary Fund proposed bailout deal.