The UAE will add 29.2 million passengers at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.6 per cent in the next five years, nearly as many as China, according to The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Airline Industry Forecast 2013-17.
The emerging economies of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific will see the strongest international passenger growth with CAGR of 6.3 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively, followed by Africa and Latin America with CAGR of 5.3 per cent and 4.5 per cent, the report states. Oman (7.5 per cent CAGR) and Saudi Arabia (6.9 per cent) are also tipped for strong international growth.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said the fact that the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, led by China, 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,” he said.
He added similar opportunities exist for developing regions in Africa and Latin America, although he warned to reap the benefit, governments in those regions will need to change their view of aviation  “from a luxury cash cow to a utilitarian powerful draft horse to pull the economy forward”.
Overall, airlines expect to see a 31 per cent increase in passenger numbers and by 2017 total passenger numbers are expected to rise to 3.91 billion, an increase of 930 million passengers over the 2.98 billion carried in 2012. 
Approximately 292 million will be carried on international routes and 638 million on domestic routes. Demand is expected to expand by an average of 5.4 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2013 and 2017.
Routes within or connected to China will be the single largest growth driver, accounting for 30 per cent of new passengers during the forecast period.
With 677.8 million domestic passengers in 2017, the US will continue to be the largest single market for domestic passengers, although it will add only 70 million passengers over the forecast period (2.2 per cent CAGR).
By: Mary Sophia