Middle Eastern carriers are expected to record a profit of $100m in 2010, their first annual profit since 2005.
Gulf carriers continue to gain market share through their hubs in for Europe to Asia-Pacific traffic.
In March, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) had forecast a $400m loss for carriers in the Middle East region (MEED 11:3:10).
In 2009, carriers in the Middle East lost $600m.
Globally, Iata now expect airlines to post a profit of $2.5bn in 2010, a vast improvement on the previous $2.8bn loss that was expected.
Industry revenues worldwide are forecast to be $545bn in 2010, up from the $483bn recorded in 2009. It is still below the $564bn achieved in 2008.
“The global economy is recovering from the depths of the financial crisis much more quickly than could have been anticipated. Airlines are benefiting from a strong traffic rebound that is pushing the industry into the black. We thought that it would take at least three years to recover the $81bn (14.3 per cent) drop in revenues in 2009. But the $62bn top line improvement this year puts us about 75 per cent on the way to pre-crisis levels,” says Giovanni Bisignani, director general and chief executive of Iata.
In March, European airlines were expected to lose $2.2bn. Weak economic growth, however, in the region, labour strikes and a $1.8bn revenue loss triggered by the volcanic ash crisis have all contributed to the increase in expected losses to $2.8bn in 2010.
Europe is now the only region worldwide forecast to record losses this year.
Driven by strong growth in the regional economy, carriers in Asia-Pacific will see the largest profit of $2.2bn this year, more than double the previously forecast $900m.
Carriers in North America will achieve a $1.9bn profit in 2010, up from the $1.8bn loss that was previously forecast.
Airlines in Latin America will record a profit of $900m, up from the $800m profit forecast and airlines in Africa will post a $100m profit, their first since 2002.