The Middle East's aviation market will grow by 5 percent and will see an extra 258 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2035, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
It said that the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will all enjoy strong growth of 6.3 percent, 4.7 percent, and 4.1 percent respectively, adding that the total market size will be 414 million passengers.
Globally, IATA said it expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel in 2035, a near doubling of the 3.8 billion air travelers in 2016.
The prediction is based on a 3.7 percent annual compound average growth rate (CAGR) noted in the release of the latest update to the association’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.
"People want to fly. Demand for air travel over the next two decades is set to double. Enabling people and nations to trade, explore, and share the benefits of innovation and economic prosperity makes our world a better place," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
The forecast for passenger growth confirms that the biggest driver of demand will be the Asia-Pacific region. It is expected to be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next 20 years.
IATA said China will displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market around 2029 while India will displace the UK for third place in 2026,and Indonesia will enter the top 10 at the expense of Italy.
The 20-year forecast puts forward three scenarios. The central scenario foresees a doubling of passengers with a 3.7 percent annual CAGR. If trade liberalization gathers pace, demand could triple the 2015 level. Conversely, if the current trend towards trade protectionism gathers strength, growth could cool to 2.5 percent annual CAGR which would see passenger numbers reach 5.8 billion by 2035.
The five fastest-growing markets in terms of additional passengers per year over the forecast period will be China, the US, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, IATA said.
It added that the top 10 fastest-growing markets in percentage terms will be in Africa - Sierra Leone, Guinea, Central African Republic, Benin, Mali, Rwanda, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Madagascar.For all the latest GCC 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.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.