US ban to dominate this year’s ATM discussions

UAE airports forecast 6.3pc passenger growth this year

A Monitor Report 11 Apr, 2017 | 2653 Views|-+
Dubai: The UAE will lead Middle East passenger growth in 2017 with an annual increase of more than 6.3 per cent, according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), despite sluggish global economic growth, low oil prices, ‘Trumponomics’ and Brexit.

So far security threats have already dented traffic in a number of markets whilst political changes, including the UK's ‘Brexit’ and a new US government, are creating further uncertainties.

Aviation features heavily in the seminar programme at ATM 2017 to be held from April 24-27 in Dubai World Trade Centre. However, aviation-related discussions, will no doubt be dominated by the recent US-led ban on electronic devices and the repercussions for regional airlines.

Despite the setbacks, it is a good news story for the Middle East’s major carriers and airports, as IATA forecasts an additional 258 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the Middle East by 2035. While the region will require 58,000 new pilots by that time to meet the increase in demand.

Middle East carriers reported the strongest annual traffic growth of any region globally for the fifth year running in 2016, according to the IATA. RPKS (revenue passenger kilometres) grew 11.8 per cent consolidating the region’s position as the third-largest market for global passengers. Capacity growth of 13.7 per cent outstripped demand however, driving down the average load factor by 1.3 percentage points to 74.7 per cent.

With a number of aviation mega-projects underway across the GCC and wider Middle East, airports are expanding slightly ahead of the curve in demand, with capacity in 2016 increasing by 13.9 per cent and a forecast for 2017 of 10.1 per cent. Meanwhile, Middle East passenger numbers are only expected to rise by 9 per cent this year, a further dip compared to 2016’s 10.8 per cent growth.

“Aviation is integral to the Arabian Travel Market show and plays a significant role not only during the seminars but also on the exhibition floor. With investment in transport infrastructure, especially the expansion of airports, prevalent throughout the region, the growth in passenger numbers will continue unabated,” commented Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market.

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