Dubai – MENA Herald: Middle East aviation sector continues to boom and generate tremendous interest from suppliers worldwide, with the airlines in the region recording the strongest annual traffic growth compared to their counterparts and announcing further network and strategic fleet expansion plans.
The strong interest in Middle East is reflected in the 16thedition of the Airport Show, which will take place from May 9-11 in Dubai. According to Reed Exhibitions Middle East, the event organisers, the show has not only been sold out weeks ahead of its opening date, but has also seen remarkable growth in exhibition space, number of Hosted Buyers and pre-registered participants.
More than 250 exhibitors have already confirmed their participation for the Airport Show 2016, which will occupy an exhibition space of 15,000 square metres at the New Za’abeel Halls in Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), with larger participation expected by country pavilions from Germany, France, UK, Italy, Switzerland, USA and China.
Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East said: “The tremendous response to the Airport Show reflects the strength of the region’s aviation industry. The region, particularly the UAE and Dubai, has a deep commitment toward the aviation sector, which contributes more than 27 per cent to Dubai’s GDP and accounts for over 21 per cent share in employment. The strong performance of airlines and expansion plans continue to generate an array of opportunities worldwide.”
Carriers from the region ruled the sky last year and increased the share of international traffic on massive expansion of Gulf carriers.
Middle East carriers had the strongest annual traffic growth at 10.5 per cent, according to latest statistics from International Air Transport Association (IATA). As a result, the share of international traffic carried by Middle East airlines reached 14.2 per cent, surpassing their North American counterparts.
Going further, airlines in the region will continue to present tremendous opportunities for global suppliers as they stay strong on expansion.
According to Boeing, airlines in the Middle East will require 3,180 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at an estimated $730 billion. While approximately 30 percent of that demand – 960 airplanes – will replace today’s fleets, 70 percent of the demand is expected to be driven by the rapid fleet expansion in the region.
“In order to foster continued economic development of the region, particularly non-oil related, to encourage more tourism and to transport business travellers, the Middle East region is establishing an impressive fleet of passenger aircraft. In fact, the share of passenger aircraft in the world operated by the regions carriers has doubled in 10 years,” according to Airbus, which forecast an annual growth rate of 6 per cent in air traffic for the Middle East region over the next 20 years, which is well above the projected growth in global traffic of 4.6 per cent.
Airlines in the Middle East also continue with strategic network and fleet expansion, which will further propel growth.
Emirates Airline, which serves over 150 destinations in 80 countries, added 26 new aircraft to its fleet in 2015, comprising 15 A380s, 10 Boeing 777-300ERs and 1 Boeing 777 Freighter, rounding off the year with 246 aircraft in service.
With the addition of new aircraft in 2015 and 26 more aircraft slated to retire in 2016, Emirates said it is committed to flying a younger, modern and environmentally friendly fleet that provides customers with a superior level of comfort and safety.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, introduced six additional destinations to its global route network and increased frequencies on 16 existing routes across the world in 2015. To support the next phase of its global network expansion, Etihad Airways announced that it will receive 10 aircraft deliveries this year, including five Boeing 787-9s, three A380s and two Boeing 777-200 Freighters.
Qatar Airways has announced a significant expansion to 14 new destinations, with the new routes to include the world’s longest flight, between Doha and Auckland, New Zealand.
Massive investments toward airport construction activities in the Middle East would further add to the opportunities global suppliers can tap into. According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, airport investments worth more than $32.7 billion are underway or planned in the UAE alone.
“Airport Show 2016 presents an ideal platform for global players to tap into these opportunities,” added Daniyal Qureshi.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, the Airport Show has become the regional centre of procurement for the massive developments in the sector taking place in the region.
This year, the three-day Airport Show expects more than 7,000 visitors.