Between 2009 and 2028, carriers in the Middle East will require 1,418 new passenger aircraft valued at US$243 billion to satisfy above world average demand, according Airbus’s Global Market Forecast. Factors driving demand include: Emerging economies, evolving airline networks, low-cost-carrier expansion, expanding urbanisation, more growing ‘mega-cities’, as well as ongoing traffic growth and the replacement of need to replace older aircraft with eco-efficient airliners.
To ease aircraft congestion and to accommodate growth on existing routes, larger aircraft in all size categories will be required. Environmental concerns are also increasingly influencing airlines to consider the benefits of larger aircraft, particularly within aircraft families by minimising training and maintenance costs.
The region’s passenger aircraft requirement includes: 561 ‘single-aisle’ aircraft, such the A320 Family; 668 ‘twin-aisle’ aircraft, such as the A350 XWB and the world’s best selling long range A330/A340 Family; and 189 ‘very large’ aircraft such as the A380. By 2028, the region’s passenger fleet will almost treble to 1,681 from the 586 passenger aircraft recorded at the beginning of 2009. Of these 586 passenger aircraft, newer more eco-efficient models will replace 323 ageing aircraft, 221 will be recycled and 42 will remain in service.
Air traffic in the Middle East is experiencing rapid growth. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone, traffic has increased by 234 per cent in the last 10 years. The emergence of the Middle East into one of the world’s top international hubs and tourist destinations is boosting demand, as is its unique geographical position with some 85 percent of the world’s population concentrated within range of a long-haul flight. This includes India, China and the Asia region, which by itself will account for 31 per cent of all demand for aircraft in the next 20 years.
The forecast anticipates long-term resilience of Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) despite cyclical effects. Airbus anticipates the region will average annual passenger growth rates of 6.4 per cent over the next 10 years and 5.4 per cent from 2019 to 2028. Looking further ahead, the 20 year growth rate averages 5.9 per cent, well above the world average 4.7 per cent.
“The Middle East market encompasses all aircraft segments and is a barometer for the rest of the world. The recovery begins here. As it gains pace, Airbus is ready to meet demand with the world’s most eco-efficient and modern aircraft,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer Customers.
Aviation is key component of economic growth and benefits individuals in all corners of the world. Oxford Economics, a leading ‘think-tank’, predicts that in 20 years time, air transport will directly employ 8.5 million people worldwide and contribute US$1 trillion annually to world GDP. Direct and indirect benefits to tourism are even greater.