The Middle East is predicted to lead global aviation industry growth over the next four years, with the UAE alone adding 29.2 million passengers by 2017.
The forecast from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) sees the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region with the strongest international passenger growth, with a compound average growth rate of 6.3 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively.
“The fact that the Asia-Pacific region, led by China, and the Middle East will deliver the strongest growth over the forecast period is not surprising. Governments in both areas recognise the value of the connectivity provided by aviation to drive global trade and development,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s chief executive.
Iata’s forecasts comes weeks after the Dubai’s Airshow broke records with a deals tally topping US$200 billion.
Regional airport hubs are also benefiting from a rise in freight traffic. Middle East carriers reported a 12.3 per cent year-on-year growth in freight traffic in October, Iata said.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific said yesterday it would move its freighter operations to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central starting from February 1.
Dubai is Cathay Pacific’s transit hub for its European destinations including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Paris and Milan. Cathay Pacific currently operates seven weekly freighter services and 14 weekly passenger services in Dubai.