Airlines in the Middle East are forecast to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in new aircraft over the next 20 years to meet continued strong demand and address their rapid expansion plans, according to new forecasts by Airbus and Boeing revealed at the Dubai Airshow.
In its Global Market Forecast 2011-2030, Airbus predicted that the Middle East will account for 11% of global traffic in 2030, up from 7% today. ‘At the growth rate the Middle East is on today, this market will double in size in terms of revenue passenger kilometres in a little over ten years, while the rest of the world will double in about fifteen years,’ said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, who presented the report at the show.
To meet this growth, carriers in the region will need to add 1,921 new passenger and freighter aircraft (above 100 seats) at a cost of $347.4bn. This growth rate would result in the almost trebling of the regions fleet from over 800 aircraft today to some 2,260 by 2030.
Airbus said the main drivers of the continued strong demand for new aircraft include fleet expansion and replacement, greater urbanisation, an increasing number of mega cities and the overall ongoing expansion of the region as a geographical hub and tourist destination. It pointed out that the region is uniquely placed with more than 85% of the world’s population within reach of a direct flight.
The region’s new passenger aircraft requirement includes 779 single-aisle aircraft, 801 twin-aisle aircraft, and 302 very large aircraft, Airbus said. Of these 1,442 aircraft will be necessary for growth and 440 for replacing ageing aircraft with newer more eco-efficient models. Globally, there is a move towards larger aircraft in all size categories to help absorb growing passenger numbers despite infrastructure constraints.