UAE to drive ME air traffic growth for next four years

DUBAI — Propelled by a record average annual increase in international passenger traffic, the UAE will lead the exponential regional air traffic growth in the next four years.

By Issac John

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Published: Thu 25 Oct 2007, 8:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:29 PM

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday forecast the strongest international passenger demand growth for the Middle East where an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 6.8 per cent will be driven by GDP expansion along with significant new routes and capacity. "Within the region, the UAE (8.4 per cent) will show the strongest growth. Total international passenger numbers are forecast to be around 105 million in 2011, an increase of 30 million over 2006 levels," it said.

IATA forecast that in 2011 the air transport industry will handle 2.75 billion passengers (620 million more passengers than in 2006) and 36 million tonnes of international freight (7.5 million tonnes more than in 2006).

"International passenger demand is expected to rise from 760 million passengers in 2006 to 980 million in 2011 at an AAGR of 5.1 per cent. This will be lower than the 7.4 per cent AAGR recorded during 2002-2006, largely due to slightly slower global economic growth," said the organisation representing some 240 airlines comprising 94 per cent of international scheduled air traffic. IATA traffic forecasts are based on a comprehensive survey of airline expectations for major route areas.

The report said while domestic passenger demand is expected grow from 1.37 billion passengers in 2006 to 1.77 billion in 2011, an AAGR of 5.3 per cent, fuelled by expansion in the Indian and Chinese domestic markets, international freight volumes are expected to grow at an AAGR of 4.8 per cent over the forecast period, supported by economic growth, globalisation and trade. "Strong price competition from other modes of transport is expected to keep freight demand growth below the 6.2 per cent AAGR recorded for 2002-2006."

"The numbers clearly show that the world wants to fly. And it also needs to fly. Air transport is critical to the fabric of the global economy, playing a critical role in wealth generation and poverty reduction. The livelihoods of 32 million people are tied to aviation, accounting for $3.5 trillion in economic activity," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO.

"A looming infrastructure crisis could put these benefits at risk. And failure to prepare adequately to meet demand will have an environmental cost with inefficient use of airspace and delays. There is no panacea, but the starting point for a sustainable solution is a common vision for efficiency that is acted on by governments and industry. With infrastructure planning timelines measured in decades, there is no time to lose."

"Parts of the world are effectively managing infrastructure development to anticipate and meet demand-particularly the Middle East and China. But the enormous anticipated expansion in India that has fuelled record aircraft orders could be cut short by insufficient airport and air traffic management capacity. The unprecedented delays nightmare in the US is a clear example of the paralysis that results when we miss the mark on effective planning. This is mirrored in Europe where governments still have not cleaned up the mess in air traffic management with an effective Single European Sky. In total, infrastructure inefficiency-from bottlenecks to inefficient processes-adds 12 per cent to our fuel bill and costs the environment 73 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions each year," said Bisignani.

IATA has a clear four pillar strategy to take aviation to carbon neutral growth in the medium term, based on investment in technology, more effective operations, efficient infrastructure and appropriate economic measures. "The growing demand for aviation is an opportunity for sound investment in a green future," said Bisignani.

He announced the forecasts in a speech to the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) in Damascus.

The strong growth in Asia Pacific (5.9 per cent AAGR) will be driven by strong economic growth in the major developing economies in the region. China (8.8 per cent AAGR), India (8.6 per cent AAGR) and Vietnam (7.7 per cent AGGR) will lead the region. Total international passenger numbers will rise by 87 million by 2011.

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