x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Premium-class air travel grows in the region

More people travelling to the Arabian Gulf are “turning left” as they board a plane compared with last year.

Eithad raised the stakes of luxury travel in May by introducing a US$20,000 ticket for a sky-high hotel suite called The Residence on its soon-to-be introduced Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Delores Johnson / The National
Eithad raised the stakes of luxury travel in May by introducing a US$20,000 ticket for a sky-high hotel suite called The Residence on its soon-to-be introduced Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Delores Johnson / The National

More people travelling to the Arabian Gulf are “turning left” as they board a plane compared with last year.

The number of passengers flying business and first class between Europe and the Gulf has grown 12.4 per cent and expanded 11.6 per cent between East Asia and the region, according to May data from the International Air Traffic Association (Iata).

“May was another good month for premium-traffic growth in the region,” said Hussein Dabbas, the Iata vice president for Africa and Middle East. “Economies in the region, particularly the Gulf, are recording strong growth in non-oil producing sectors and close to record levels of business activity, which should mean continued strength in the coming months.”

Iata found that premium travel picked up worldwide, growing 6.5 per cent year-on-year, compared with 3.8 per cent in April.

Overall, according to the report, the outlook for air travel is positive with global business activity, especially manufacturing and services, now growing at the fastest rate for the past three years.

The report highlighted that growth in manufacturing and export orders has yet to recover to levels at the end of last year, which raises some doubts whether strong acceleration in trade and business-related demand will occur in the near-term.

The growth figures are good news for Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways.

Eithad raised the stakes of luxury travel in May by introducing a US$20,000 ticket for a sky-high hotel suite called The Residence on its soon-to-be introduced Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Emirates countered that with plans to introduce a new “bedroom concept” for premium travellers.

According to data from the Centre for Aviation (Capa), London Heathrow to New York JFK is the world’s most popular long-haul first-class route with 1,116 weekly first-class seats sold; Heathrow to Dubai is the second busiest first-class route with 850 seats sold each week.

ascott@thenational.ae

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