World airline traffic grew by 5.9%in June, driven by strong demand from the Asia-Pacific region and helped by a steadying of the business climate in the eurozone, the International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday.

In the first six months of the year, traffic increased by 4.8% on a 12-month comparison, and the global industry could turn in an overall net profit this year of nearly US$13.0 billion IATA said.

“The stability in the eurozone, albeit tentative, is giving a boost to business and consumer confidence,” IATA managing director Tony Tyler said.

The overall passenger load factor, a critical measure of the percentage of seats filled, was 81.7% which “shows that airlines are efficiently meeting increasing demand for travel,” he said.

But IATA warned that the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called BRIC countries, was slowing.

Much of the growth of airline traffic is being driven by growth of the economies, and of business and tourist travel, in and from the Asia-Pacific region. This is also a big factor in estimates by aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing of huge future demand.

Another key factor for airlines is the cost of fuel, and Tyler noted that “oil prices remain high”.

However, “the industry is still on track to make US$4.00 per passenger this year for a global net profit of US$12.7 billion (9.6 billion euros).

“But there is little margin for error and even a small change in the second half of the year could shift the outlook significantly,” Tyler said.