Middle East aviation remains resilient

20 November 2014

Airlines must invest to meet rising demand

The Middle East is one of the most promising regions in the global aviation market, remaining resilient to the slowdown in passenger traffic that is beginning to emerge in other major global markets.

Traffic travelling between the Middle East region, and Europe, Asia and Africa, is continuing to see healthy growth, of up to 14 per cent in September, compared to the same month in 2013.

In contrast, routes within Europe and Asia are showing signs of stagnation. With slowing economic growth in both the eurozone and China, air travel inevitably takes a hit.

The Far East aviation market contracted 1.6 per cent in September year-on-year.

Buoyed by the strong economies in the Gulf, Middle Eastern airlines are expanding their fleets and extending their networks, while the region’s governments are supporting the construction of new larger airports.

Low-cost airliner Air Arabia has raised a $230m Islamic loan to fund the delivery of new aircraft this month as it looks to expand its operations.

The carrier was the first low-cost carrier in the Middle East, and despite rising competition, it continues to invest in its fleet, post rising profits and increase the number of destinations it offers.

At the end of October the airline launched a route to Tibilsi in Georgia, the carrier’s 100th global destination.

Elsewhere in the region, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has just completed its first new nonstop daily service to San Francisco.

Dubai-based budget airline Flydubai has been expanding into Africa this year, launching routes to Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania in October.

Air travel traffic in and out of the Middle East does not show any signs of dwindling, and the region’s airlines are working to ensure they can meet the demand.

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