Air passenger traffic in ME will outpace world average

DUBAI — Air passenger traffic in the Middle East is predicted to grow at a faster rate over the next 20 years than the world average, according to Airbus, the Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer.

By Lucia Dore (Senior Correspondent)

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Published: Thu 8 Mar 2007, 8:35 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:47 PM

The Airbus report, "Global market forecast, the future of flying 2006-2025", predicts that Middle East passenger traffic will grow at an annual rate of 7.1 per cent through 2015, compared to a global average of 5.3 per cent. From 2016-2025, Middle East passenger traffic is predicted to continue to grow at 5.2 per cent, compared to a global average of 4.4 per cent. And over a 20-year period - 2006-2025- an average growth of 6.2 per cent is predicted, compared to a world average of 4.8 per cent.

The Middle East has emerged as a key centre for international air traffic and that "over the last 10 years Dubai has evolved into a global hub, progressing from the 26th to the 10th largest international hub in the world in terms of international traffic", the report concludes.

"The Middle East is not only growing because of its own economic development, but is also benefiting from having three major and rapidly developing markets in its own backyard: Russia, Eastern Europe and India," states the report. "The dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit of the region is now [also] bringing tourism and business traffic in its own right, representing half of the arrivals in the UAE and Qatar."

The strong Indian economy is having an enormous impact on air traffic growth to the Middle East, the report states. And the 6.3 per cent growth per year to India, mostly due to the price sensitive Indian migrant workers in the Gulf, will be another short/medium-haul market requiring a very large aircraft such as the A380. "Already this flow is twice as large, in terms of passengers, as Europe to India," the Airbus authors' conclude.

The Middle East passenger fleet is anticipated to grow from 461 aircraft in service today to nearly 1,195 in 2025. And the Middle East and Asia will represent a larger share of demand for twin-aisle and very large aircraft.

The report also states: "Trend setting airlines from the region have successfully taken advantage of the region's location to attract international passengers on their way from Asia to Europe and Africa."

Accordingly, both tourism and business traffic to the entire Middle East have grown at a steady pace, 7.2 per cent and 8 per cent per year respectively.

The report also finds that new entrants have added a significant amount of additional seat capacity and that in the future, low cost carriers are expected to continue growing around the world.

Pointing to the Airbus findings, Adel Ali, chief executive officer of Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa's first low-cost carrier, said that they provide strong support for the carrier's own long-term growth strategy, particularly the fact that Russia, Eastern Europe and India "feature prominently in our own growth plans".

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