The GCC and Levant states will be requiring some 2,460 aircraft to meet rising air travel demand to the year 2034.

This would account for about 7.5 per cent of the global demand, according to a forecast made by Europe’s Airbus.

The region currently has 1,083 active, in service planes, of which Airbus expects some 576 to be retired during the 20-year forecast period. This means the number of in service aircrafts across the region will nearly triple by 2034 to reach about 2,967.

A significant share of the forecast demand is already on order, with the region’s leading airlines currently awaiting the delivery of some 1,000 aircrafts.

On-order aircraft by airline:

  • Qatar Airways: 340
  • Emirates Airline: 263
  • Etihad Airways: 199
  • Gulf Air: 50 (transaction to be concluded in early 2016)
  • Saudi Arabia Airlines: 45 (order with Airbus; order with other manufacturers, if any, is not known)
  • Kuwait Airways: 25
  • Oman Air: 20

The region’s largest carrier, Dubai’s Emirates Airline has 243 in service aircraft. It received 23 new aircraft in 2015 and will take delivery of 36 new aircraft units in 2016. It plans to retire 26 aircraft in 2016, 13 in 2017 and another 13 in 2018. The average age of aircraft the airline will retire in 2016 if 15.7 years, which is below the average industry retirement age of abour 25.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects air passenger demand in the Middle East to grow at an estimated 4.9 per cent annually until 2034, resulting in additional 237 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region during the forecast period.

Airbus’ 20-year aircraft demand forecast is lower compared to a similar forecast made by the US’ Boeing, which placed the region’s 20-year aircraft requirements to around 3,180.