By Andy Sambidge
Latest industry data shows Middle East is forecast to drive global aviation growth this month
The Middle East, and Dubai in particular, is forecast to drive growth in global aviation demand in August, according to new data.
Air capacity around the world is set to show a two percent increase this month, with the biggest growth in long-haul traffic seen in the UAE and Dubai in particular, new figures from flight schedule data market leader OAG showed.
Dubai, with its 12 percent increase in flight operations and 14 percent increase in seat capacity, is also showing the fastest growth among the major global air hubs, OAG added.
This month will see flight operations to and from the Middle East grow by seven percent to 64,252, while seat capacity will increase by eight percent to reach 14,219,564.
The figure represents nearly 4,000 more flights and more than a million more seats offered than in August 2011. Traffic within the Middle East region is also expected to grow by four percent (flights) and three percent (seats), the OAG data showed.
The Middle East region's key hubs are all experiencing strong year-on-year growth in August, with Abu Dhabi seeing seats increasing by 248,896 (up 17 percent), Doha by 244,470 (11 percent) and Bahrain by 114,560 (11 percent).
But by far the strongest performer in the region is Dubai, with 782,544 additional seats and 2,694 additional flight operations compared with August 2011.
"Strategically, the Middle East is growing in importance all the time, particularly in terms of its links with Western Europe," said Rob Shaw, director Analytics at OAG.
"While capacity reductions are continuing on several key routes between Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, more than 400,000 extra seats are now offered between Western Europe and the Middle East.
"Of these, more than 70 percent are on services to and from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, largely reflecting the continued expansion plans of the premier Gulf-based airlines," added Shaw.
OAG's latest data also showed that scheduled flight operations within North America will be at their lowest August level for 10 years.
This month there will be 953,083 fewer air seats offered within North America compared with August 2011, with 21,401 fewer flights.
"Against the backdrop of a slowing economy the North American region is experiencing general consolidation of its internal scheduled air services," said Shaw.
Only three of North America's top 10 hubs (San Francisco, Charlotte and Toronto) will show significant growth in seat capacity this month, while capacity at Chicago O'Hare will drop by three percent.
OAG said seat capacity at eight of the world's top 10 airports will grow this month while, globally, airlines will increase flights by 16,948 and seats by 9,608,208, taking the total scheduled flight operations for August to 2,789,437 and the total of seats offered to 361,193,356.
This represents growth of one percent in flights but three percent in seats, which is explained by the increased use of larger aircraft.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.