$36bn investment in Mideast airports seen
Dubai, February 2, 2008
Ten leading Middle East airports will invest $36.8 billion in new airport capacity that will provide for an additional 318 million passengers per year by 2012, according to a report.
Aviation traffic in the Arab region recorded the highest growth in the world in 2006 at 12.2 per cent, three times higher than the average global figure.
According to the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the region once again eclipsed global capacity growth which rose to a record of 3.4 per cent.
“The Arab region foresees a rapid growth in the world for international traffic between 2006-2010,” says CAPA executive chairman Peter Harbison.
CAPA, together with Terrapinn, is organising the first Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit in Abu Dhabi on February 27 and 28.
CAPA's views on the region are borne out by IATA, which forecasts that the annual average growth of passenger traffic in the Middle East is predicted to remain strong at 6.9 per cent in comparison with the global average of 4.8 per cent.
According to the CAPA’s report, the Middle East was again the fastest growing region for passengers (RPKs) and cargo (FTKs) in 2006, recording full-year growth of 15.4 per cent and 16.1 per cent respectively, as per IATA’s figures.
“Ten million passengers are handled by five major airports and Dubai being the pre-eminent hub holds alone one quarter, or 22 per cent of the total 128 million passengers,” says Harbison.
In a report on the Middle East Aviation Outlook, CAPA stressed that the aviation industry in the Arab region is not an “over-hyped bubble.” Its remarkable growth is expected to continue at sustainable levels well into the future.
Airport and aviation expansion is expected to boost and maintain the current healthy levels of growth.
“The Middle East is not expanding in an excessive, unplanned way,” adds Harbison. 'Several factors are forcing this development. The region enjoys a natural geographical advantage which nowadays is perceived as the heart of the world and it has been enhanced by an open sky liberalization which makes intermediate ports become valuable crossroads hubs.
The UAE, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar are the region’s leaders; they have implemented “open skies” policies that played a major role in the development of their tourism industries as well as their success to access numerous international markets.
Another key element, long distance flights, permitted the passengers to fly non-stop to and from any part of the world. These features will help the region’s airlines as well as airports to be ahead of the “next generation aviation” evolution, according to the report. This fast growth several years ago was seen to be impossible.
“The Middle East has become the hottest aviation sector in the world. At the 2007 Paris Air show alone, Middle East airlines announced orders for almost $50 billion worth of aircraft, almost half of the world’s order book,' concludes Peter Harbison.
The First Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit has been organised to address this growing influence on global aviation and tourism, and will consist of a high-level speaker programme and an accompanying exhibition. It has already generated a great deal of interest within the highest levels of the aviation industry, regionally and globally.
According to Symon Rubens, managing director of Terrapinn Middle East, the world- leading business media company which is organising this pioneering event, a large number of the key decision makers have already confirmed their participation, either as speakers or delegates.
'Senior executives, including many airline CEO's, are realising that this is one of the most important and significant aviation conferences ever to be held in the Middle East region and consequently registrations are well ahead of our expectations,' he said. 'The standing of the s