The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has said airlines will make a record $15.1bn (£9.5bn) this year - 70% more than its last forecast made just three months ago.
In September it said the total airline profit for 2010 would be $8.9bn.
The body says the change in forecast is down to higher-than-expected passenger numbers.
But it says that despite this profit margins are "pathetic" and that the industry remains on a "knife edge".
Iata's director general, Giovanni Bisignani, said although the shift in the forecast appeared dramatic it was important to relate it to the size of the industry, which is expected to turn over $565bn in revenues.
The changes in the profit forecast represents just more than 1% of that revenue figure.
Profit margins for 2010 are forecast to be 2.7%.
"The fact that we can increase our profit forecast by 70% and still be left with a net margin of just 2.7% shows just how far this industry has got to go to achieve a normal level of profitability," said Mr Bisignani.
Most of the growth will come from Asia, where economic growth is far higher than in Europe and the US.
Iata represents 230 airlines covering 93% of scheduled international traffic.