Thursday, September 21, 2017, 9:01 am

MENA ready for exponential growth, say experts at Arab Aviation Summit

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SHARJAH: The aviation and tourism industry in the Middle East is set to be a driving force for region’s economy, according to the 6thArab Aviation Summit’s white paper report released today.

The region is expected to deliver a 5% growth, and connect an extra 258 million passengers to and from its airports by 2035. As such, the market size has the potential to reach 414 million passengers over the next two decades.

Due to its unique geographical location, and the advantages brought forth by world-class upgrades to airport infrastructure, the predicted growth for the Middle East will continue to boostthe regional economy, leading to an increase in job opportunities across a multitude of sectors, and a further increase to indirect employment in local markets.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 2016 witnessed over 3.8 billion travellers taking to the skies; a figure which is forecast to reach 4 billion in 2017. The association projected that this figure has the potential to reach 7.2 billion by 2035, a statement which confirms the vitality of the aviation industry.

With respect to the Middle East, the report has urged industry leaders to view the region as a single market of 350 million potential travellers, rather than segregated economies stymied by heavy regulations. It states that a protectionist approach to the industry will only stall growth and further hinder the sector’s ability to capture and service the under-served segments.

Estimates in the report show that the number of aircraft operating in 2017 will rise by 1000, bringing the total to 29000 aircraft operating around the world. Furthermore, it added that there will be, on average, 73 flights departing every minute throughout the year.

The airports’ infrastructure expansion projects announced recently are expected to address these growth demands where airport investments of $32.7 billion in the UAE alone, and airport development projects in other Middle East markets will be among the top factors that will considerably push regional investments. It is also expected to generate direct employment opportunities accounting for more than 3.2 million jobs by 2025.

The annual Arab Aviation Summit is an industry initiative committed to improving the state of travel and tourism in the Arab world by facilitating a constructive dialogue for public-private cooperation.  The 6th edition of the summit took place in December 2016by the Dead Sea in Jordan under the theme ‘Linking Cultures, Driving Economies’, and was attended by over 200industry thought leaders, government officials and journalists.

 

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