IATA represents some 275 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic.
According to the forecast by the industry's global trade association, combined net profits will hit $38.4 billion, from a revised $34.5 billion in 2017, with USA carriers weighing in with nearly half.
That's according to research by IATA, the International Air Transport Association.
"Safety performance is solid. We have a clear strategy that is delivering results on environmental performance", Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, said in a statement. "Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability".
An Emirates Airline Boeing 777 aircraft is seen next to an Airbus A330-300 as it takes off from the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Airport in Abidjan on November 28.
Continent-wide, capacity rose 3.4%, and load factor jumped 2.7 percentage points to 70.9%, Iata said.
Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018.
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IATA said the biggest challenge to profitability in 2018 would be rising costs linked to the higher oil prices and other factors.
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 US airlines awarded high pay increases to pilots this year.
Passenger numbers are expected to rise to 4.3 billion, up from 2017's 4.1 billion.
Airlines are on course to increase profits again in 2018, a major industry body has said. Cargo volume is expected to grow 4.5% y-o-y to 62.5 million tonnes. Average net profit per departing passenger is projected to climb from $8.45 to $8.90 in 2018.
The data showed Asia-Pacific airlines leading all regions with traffic growth of 10.3% from the comparable period a year earlier, and up from an 8.7% rise in September. "For Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos (and) Malaysia, the airline industry's capacity growth is moderate and we should expect a more favourable earnings outlook for the airlines based in these countries", she said.
"On the other hand, the airline capacity growth in the other Asean markets is more aggressive, namely Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei".
The Iata chief said the industry also faces longer-term challenges. After all, global tourists traveling by air are projected to spend more than $750 billion next year, which marks a 15 percent increase in just over two years.