Market presence & forecast
Welcome to Airbus Middle East
Since its creation, over three decades ago, Airbus has enjoyed an ever growing partnership with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
From the first order for A300 aircraft placed in 1978, today over 650 aircraft have been delivered and more than 1,000 aircraft have been ordered by airlines in the region.
Airbus has evolved into a key element of the flourishing airline industry in the MENA region with cutting-edge products and reliable services.
With an advantageous geographical location and fast paced economic development, the region has witnessed unprecedented growth in air transportation sector. Realising the Middle East and North Africa region’s importance in the air transport sector, Airbus in 2006 made the strategic decision to create an Airbus Middle East subsidiary with the purpose of better serving the needs and requirements of a fast growing customer base.
This customer base which now includes over 40 airlines in nearly 30 countries from the east Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean and includes flagship and national carriers, low cost and smaller regional operators, in addition to MENA-based leasing companies.
The Airbus Middle East office is located at the heart of Dubai Airport Free Zone, UAE, and employs over 75 professionals. In addition to the commercial unit, the subsidiary includes Airbus Corporate Jets, Airbus Spares Centre, and Airbus Training Centre.
Airbus presence in the MENA region
Since the first Airbus aircraft delivered into the region over 30 years ago, there are now 714 Airbus aircraft of all types flying with more than 50 operators across MENA – and this is continually increasing. The Airbus fleet being operated in the Middle East and Northern Africa region consists of 52 per cent single-aisle A320 Family, 44 per cent wide-body aircraft, and 4 per cent very large A380 aircraft. With more than around 350 in service today, the Airbus A320 Family is the most popular passenger aircraft type in this region.
Thanks to the sustained growth and expansion of airlines throughout this region, today an increasing proportion of Airbus orders belong to carriers from MENA. Middle East and North Africa airlines such as Etihad and Qatar Airways have accounted for a significant percentage of the latest Airbus products: the A350 XWB and the A380. In addition, other major carriers such as Saudi Arabian Airlines, Air Arabia, and Egyptair have taken delivery of significant numbers of single aisle and wide-body Airbus aircraft to meet their growth.
For a complete and detailed list of Airbus operators in the Middle East and Northern Africa region, please visit the Orders and Deliveries page to download the complete O&Ds excel table and select the 'Middle East' tab in the excel file.
Forecast for the region
Thanks to advantageous geographical location, rich natural resources, increasingly educated young population, and developing tourism industries across this region, the Middle East and Northern Africa has, over the past years, been able to emerge as air traffic cross roads of global importance.
Historically, the region has also proved its resilience and ability of quick recovery to regional and global downturns affecting air travel industry. The region’s performance during the recent global economic crisis in 2008-2009 is a testament of MENA’s resilience. According to IATA, the region was the only one to record positive growth in the first quarter of 2009.
Air traffic forecast
During recent years, the Middle East and North Africa has experienced tremendous air passenger traffic growth. In less than ten years the number of passengers has increased by more than 300 per cent, when considering the combined passenger traffic at Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s airports. Such growth is not limited just to the United Arab Emirates, other countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed similar growth. Today, Saudi Arabians spend more than US$10 billion on international travel, and to meet such demand, it is forecasted the country will invest more than $12 billion through 2020 in related infrastructure. North Africa has also been experiencing sustained growth when it comes to air travel. Of note has been an increase of 228 per cent in air traffic between Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.
Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast predicts an annual growth rate of 6.4 per cent in air traffic for the Middle East region during the next 20 years. This increase is well above the forecast for the global traffic at 4.7 per cent per annum.
Aircraft demand forecast
According to Airbus GMF, the total passenger fleet of airlines domiciled in the Middle East will grow by 1,999 new passenger aircraft deliveries by the end of 2032.