Aviation passenger traffic through the Gulf up by 10% each year
Aviation passenger traffic through the Gulf is the fastest growing in the world, rising by 10 percent each year and creating new challenges for the region’s civil aviation authorities, according to industry experts.
Increased investment in ground services has been called for in order to prevent passenger difficulties and ensure the smooth operations of airports across the GCC.
The rapid expansion plans of regionally-based international carriers such as Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Gulf Air – combined with the upcoming introduction of Airbus A380 super jumbo jets capable of carrying more than 500 people – is expected to place added pressure on airports in the Gulf, as they deal with more passengers who are either in transit, arriving, or departing.
“As aircraft increase in size and range capability, and as carriers in the Middle East expand their fleets, the comfort, security, and processing of passengers at airports will take on increasing importance,” said James Hogan, chief executive officer, Gulf Air.
“This demand for improved airport infrastructure facilities and services is a massive challenge for the whole industry, but especially for civil aviation authorities,” said David Ryan, marketing director, Bahrain Department of Civil Aviation.
Authorities in many Gulf states have already initiated plans to expand their infrastructure ahead of this predicted rise. Dubai International Airport is currently adding a third terminal to manage the introduction of the Airbus A380 super jumbo jets Emirates Airline and others will by flying in the not too distant future, and passenger numbers in Dubai are expected to hit 100 million by 2020.
Airport development is also planned for Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Jeddah. However the flagship project is the US$2 billion creation of a brand new airport in Qatar. The facility in Doha is being built from scratch, and is set to become the benchmark for all future airports.