Massive airport developments in Middle East to push global aviation growth
Keen on catering to the stupendous growth in its aviation sector, marked by rising passenger numbers and expanding fleet of airlines, the Middle East countries are pumping in billions of dollars toward expanding existing airports and building new ones.
The massive airport development projects and infrastructure investments will come under spotlight at the 16th edition of Airport Show, the world’s leading B2B airport industry event, taking place from May 9 to 11 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airlines & Group, the show will also see the staging of the 4th edition of Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF) and Travel Catering Expo (TCE) on its sidelines.
Daniyal Qureshi, Director of Airport Show and GALF, said: “The Middle East aviation sector is among the highest growth markets in the world. With airlines across the world expecting over 3.7 billion passengers this year, and Middle East taking a high share of this, airport expansion is imperative. This expansion also brings in a plethora of opportunities for product and service providers in the aviation industry and allied sectors and the Airport Show 2016 will provide an ideal platform for industry players to tap into these opportunities worth billions of dollars.”
Noting that airport construction activities are on the rise, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has revealed that the spending on airport construction projects globally has risen to over US$ 441billion. CAPA said: “Airport construction is a hot issue”, the trend is relentlessly upward and with $32.7 billion worth of airport investments underway or planned in the UAE alone, the Middle East airport developments would be among the top 2 factors that will push regional and global investments considerably.
Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI), the global body for airports, said earlier: “Simply put, airports are capital intensive businesses highly dependent on economies of scale. Even in a downturn airports have to invest to provide capacity for the future. The future is going to be challenging of course for airports. The aviation sector is definitely going to grow. There will be winners and losers but growth is inevitable.”
Among the leading airport projects in the region is the Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, entailing an investment of over $ 8 billion. The airport, that has a projected annual capacity of 12 million tonnes of freight and 160-260 million passengers, has already completed a 66,000 sqm terminal with 64-aircraft bays and a 4.5 km runway.
The Dubai International Airport is undertaking a $7.8 billion airport and airspace expansion programme to boost capacity at the Dubai International from 60 million to 90 million passengers this year. The plan involves the construction of additional terminal space and concourse areas spanning an extra 675,000 sqm of floor space. Cargo growth is expected to reach 4.1 million tonnes by 2020.
Dubai Airports has been “preparing” itself to double the emirate’s passenger handling capacity to 200 million passengers a year by 2045, up from the current target of 100 million a year by 2020.
The Ajman International Airport Project, entailing an investment of $600 million, is expected to be completed by 2018. The airport will process over 1 million passengers every year.
Abu Dhabi will have a new airport terminal complex commissioned by 2017. The $2.9 billion project will effectively double the capacity of Etihad Airways’ home base to about 30 million passengers annually. The 700,000 square metre terminal building is one of the key strategic infrastructure projects to be undertaken in the UAE capital, and will initially handle 27 million passengers per year.
King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, started its three-stage development with a budget of over $1.5 billion, with the goal of catering to over 30 million passengers. The first phase includes a 400,000 sqm terminal complex tower, control tower, access roads and utilities. Phase 2 and 3 will take the airport through to 2035 when it will cater to 85 million people.
The Sultanate of Oman has earmarked $6.1 billion over five years for aviation projects, which includes major terminal developments at Muscat and Salalah international airports, and completion of four new regional airports at Sohar, Ras al Hadd, Duqm and Adam. While eight per cent of the $6.1 billion is earmarked for the completion of the four regional airports, 92 per cent is allocated for the two primary airports in Muscat and Salalah. Due for completion this year, the Muscat International Airport in Oman will handle over 12 million passengers annually and will be expanded to further accommodate 48 million passengers.
Bahrain is undertaking a $ 1 billion expansion of Bahrain International Airport to raise its capacity to 13.5 million passengers annually. The expansion will witness the construction of a new passenger terminal of more than 150,000 sqm and other buildings including all general civil engineering, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works, aircraft parking, car park, interiors, exteriors and other related works by 2018.
Sharjah Airport is waiting to complete its 2030 master plan. Much of Sharjah’s growth over the past decade has been fuelled by the Gulf’s first low-cost carrier, Air Arabia. Sharjah International will review its expansion every five years until 2030 and measure its response to growth.
Over 300 leading global companies will be showcasing an impressive portfolio of products, solutions and services to the regional airport industry players at the Airport Show and GALF which will have an anticipated combined attendance of 7,500 attendees, 150 hosted buyers and over 100 regional aviation authorities.
The 16th edition of the Airport Show will be spread over 15,000 sqm, and offer attendees three networking platforms. The Airport Show has strong representation from the government and private sectors and is being held with the support of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Airports and Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) among others.