A new golden age for airlines has been touted at the annual International Air Transport Association meeting, where profit forecasts have been raised despite the threat from geopolitical events. But as Kate King reports, Qatar airways CEO was missing amid an escalting diplomatic rift in the Middle East.
It wasn't all fun and games at the International Air Transport Association's annual meeting but the outlook for 2017 is looking up The IATA indicating a third straight year of robust earnings, raising its profit forecast by nearly 2-billion dollars (SOUNDBITE) (English) IATA GENERAL DIRECTOR, ALEXANDER DE JUNIAC, SAYING: "The situation is more positive. So, the forecast in terms of profitability are higher. We forecast $31.4 billion dollars of profit, 743 billion revenues." Expectations that the global economy will post its strongest growth in six years tempered by security concerns Carriers have been scrambling to meet changes to electronic restrictions in aircraft cabins which have affected passenger numbers (SOUNDBITE) (English) IATA GENERAL DIRECTOR, ALEXANDER DE JUNIAC, SAYING: "We have seen a dip in traffic between the airports that are involved in the ban in the U.S. And secondly, we are actively advocating a removal of the ban. " They're also calling for a swift resolution of a diplomatic rift threatening air travel in the Middle East Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have banned Qatari planes from their airports and airspace Qatar airways CEO leaving the IATA meeting as the news broke ( SOUNDBITE) (English) BOEING MARKETING VICE PRESIDENT RANDY TINSETH, SAYING: "We've seen issues, geopolitical issues over the last few years, we've seen issues around terrorism. We found that market that has been very resilient. Again, it is a grown over long-term trend over the last 5 or 6 years, frankly as the world economy hasn't done all that well. " None the less it's a stark reminder of how far politics can reach and while the industry has been enjoying record low oil prices It knows it still needs to be vigilant against cost increases.