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Sat 5 Dec 2015 01:31 AM

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Gulf airlines to drive MidEast growth to 383m passengers by 2034

New IATA figures reveal UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to see strong growth as market is set to grow by 237m passengers

Gulf airlines to drive MidEast growth to 383m passengers by 2034

Middle East airlines will grow strongly and will see an extra 237 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2034, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The aviation authority said the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will all enjoy strong growth of 5.6 percent, 4.8 percent, and 4.6 percent respectively.

The total market size will grow annually by 4.9 percent and will be 383 million passengers by 2034, it added.

Globally, IATA its updated passenger growth forecast, projecting that passenger numbers are expected to reach 7 billion by 2034 with a 3.8 percent average annual growth in demand.

That is more than double the 3.3 billion who flew in 2014 and exactly twice as many as the 3.5 billion expected in 2015.      

Previously, IATA forecast 7.4 billion passengers in 2034 based on a 4.1 percent average annual growth rate. The revised result reflects negative developments in the global economy that are expected to dampen demand for air transport, especially slower economic growth projections for China, it said.

The five fastest-increasing markets in terms of additional passengers per year over the forecast period will be China, the US, India, Indonesia and Brazil.

IATA said seven of the ten fastest-growing markets in percentage terms will be in Africa.

“The demand for air transport continues to grow. There is much work to be done to prepare for the 7 billion passengers expected to take the skies in 2034,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“Economic and political events over the last year have impacted some of the fundamentals for growth. As a result, we expect some 400 million fewer people to be traveling in 2034 than we did at this time last year,” said Tyler.

China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest passenger market by 2029 while India will displace the United Kingdom as the third-largest market in 2026, with Indonesia rising to number 5 in the world.

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