While the Middle East remains potentially the fastest-growing and most important global aviation market, headlong growth by regional carriers could be affected by congestion in the skies, according to CEO of Flynas, Raja Azmi.
Speaking at an aviation seminar at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, he said, “Congestion was already an issue at hubs such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as availability of slots at Jeddah.” “This has to be tackled when airlines here have orders for 200 aircraft or more each,” he added.
A reassuring note was given by Bashar Jawhari, VP corporate strategy & communications at Abu Dhabi Airports, who said, “There were ongoing talks at government level within the GCC and a breakthrough was expected to tackle potential congestion: We expect to resolve this issue in the near future.”
Despite these concerns, the outlook for the GCC aviation market remains bullish, with Boeing predicting a demand for at least 2,600 new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to Michael L Warner, Boeing customer leader for airplane development, who cited three key reasons for continued growth.
“The geographical location with 80% of the world’s population within eight hours’ flying time, plus close co-ordination between players such as airlines, airport and governments and strong brands such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are sustainable drivers for growth and an advantage over competition in regions such as Asia and Europe,” he said.
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