By Bernd Debusmann Jr
13% of short-haul traffic in the region was low-cost carriers, compared to 33% globally
Middle East-based low cost carriers (LCCs) saw a 9.3 percent increase in seat capacity in 2019, increasing their share of total seats from 14.9 percent in 2018 to 16.5 percent in 2019, according to statistics from CAPA Centre for Aviation released ahead of April’s Arabian Travel Market.
Over the course of the next 12 months, LCCs are expected to further chip away at the market share of their larger rivals.
Saudia low-cost subsidiary Flyadeal, for example, became the region’s largest airline by seats in 2019, recording a capacity growth of 78.1 percent, according to CAPA.
“Situated within eight hours of two-third of the world’s population and located between the major cities of Europe in the northwest, the fast-developing East African cities in the west and India and Pakistan in the east, the Middle East is the ideal location to set up a budget airline, attracting passenger traffic from within the region as well as from across much of the eastern hemisphere,” said Danielle Curtis, Arabian Travel Market’s MidEast exhibition director.
Compared to other parts of the world, Middle East LCCs have considerable room to expand. In the region, 13 percent of short-haul traffic was through LCCs, compared to 62 percent in Southeast Asia and 33 percent globally.
In October 2019, Air Arabia and Etihad Aviation Group announced plans for a new budget carrier – Air Arabia Abu Dhabi – that will operate from the UAE’s capital. The same month, India’s SpiceJet announced plans to launch a new airline based in Ras Al Khaimah.
“The Rise of LCC’s in the region appears to be bring some fresh momentum to the aviation industry, with researching predicting 50 percent of airline traffic to be on routes of less than 2,000 miles by 2038,” Curtis added.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.